Fitz’s comments on changes, and Whiz’s future

Posted by Darren Urban on January 1, 2013 – 9:48 am

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald put out a statement in regards to the firings Monday of coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves:

“We all shoulder the blame for a disappointing season which began with such promise. A unique relationship with all of my coaches past and present is a valued life experience. I would like to thank them all, especially Coach Ken Whisenhunt and General Manager Rod Graves who gave me the opportunity to live my dream in the NFL.

“Even in the midst of a tumultuous season, it was still a pleasure to work for the staff we served under, and for that, we remain grateful. Their professionalism will provide for renewed accomplishments in different environs. We all, to a man, thank them and wish them the best.”

Fitz hadn’t been available in the locker room Monday, but after the game Sunday, he was asked about if he ever would give his input to the team going into offseason.

“Yeah, in opportune times I speak up, but I don’t think you should air your dirty laundry either,” Fitzgerald said. “This is a close-knit group. We have a great relationship with each other and I think it’s best done in house and I’ve always believed that.”

Fitz, however, added — again — it doesn’t really come up. “If they ask me any questions I’ll be always open to talk and give them my opinion, but it hasn’t happened in nine years so I don’t expect it to happen any time soon,” he said. ” I’ll be ready when my numbers’ called.”

There is little question this move has a potential huge impact on Fitz. The offensive issues killed his season. How Fitz would fit with whatever the new offense will look like — and who would be throwing him the ball — will be one of the top storylines.

— It’s no surprise Ken Whisenhunt is in search of another head coaching job at this point. Kevin Acee reported Whiz was interested in the Chargers job (although no word that the Chargers were actually interested in him.) Tim Graham said the Bills will probably be interested in Whiz, and interestingly, one of the other two known candidates is Cards’ DC Ray Horton. Whiz apparently had contract language with the Cards that means any new job salary he gets comes off the $5.5 million they owe him. That would allow a new team, in theory, to get him cheap in 2013 (since Whiz will get $5.5M regardless) but at the same time, would save the Cards at least some money as opposed to if Whiz just sits out this next season.

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36 Responses to “Fitz’s comments on changes, and Whiz’s future”

  1. By H G on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Seems like old times with the cards?

  2. By red c rider on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    HG, If the Cards organization hire the right ppl who right the ship and return the team to the playoffs, we can all finally say goodbye to the “same old Cardinals” nickname.
    I believe it will happen.

    Whiz, I will miss you and wish you luck in all your endeavors. The franchise was lucky to have you. Our relationship with you just unfortunately ran its course to the end.


  3. By MIKE G on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Happy New Year! I hope Whiz lands a Head Coach job in the NFL. I think he has alot to offer and I wish him well. Chargers and Buffalo would be getting a class act! I would like to see Andy Reid take the Card’s job if offered. We need to re-build the offense and I think that would be a good fit for Andy and the Card’s.
    Also having a player like Fitz does not hurt.
    He would walk into a situation where the D and special teams is pretty solid. His experience and respect throughout the league is well known – similar to Jeff Fisher in St Louis. I hope Mike Bidwell is patient in hiring his guy! Hey Darren–Do you see a coach in place before the NFC Championship game is played??????

  4. By Darren Urban on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Coach

    We’ll see. Probably.

  5. By Bill L on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Whiz at the Chargers or Bills……..Lucky Fitzpatrick or Rivers….NOT!!! I wonder what FA QB would come to the Bills with Whiz there, better get BIG BUCKS to let QB WHIZ end your career…….or how about a rookie for Whiz to destroy, damn, I’d refuse to sign and go into next year’s draft…….Barkley and Whiz, LOL!!! Now, Rivers and Whiz……..that’d be a GREAT lockerroom, LOL!!!!! Anyone hiring Whiz as a HC is out of His Mind……..even for FREE!!!!

  6. By Steve on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: Michael Bidwill talked about the need for the Cardinals HC candidates to be able to work with and develop QB’s, doesnt that kind of rule out Horton since he’s a d-coordinator?

  7. By Darren Urban on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Horton

    No. But Horton will have to have a plan on who he wants in place to run his offense.

  8. By Patrick Eagan on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    tell Mr. Bidwell to hire Bill Polian as GM. The man is a genius. Took Bills to 4 superbowls. to the colts to 1 and won it. He drafted Jim Kelly for Buffalo. And Peyton Manning when he was there. He has a way of finding great QB’s.

  9. By wnycardfan on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Patrick – Polian
    I agree, Hire that guy NOW for GM

  10. By Chad on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    I think Whiz was a good coach, but I think he needed to surround himself with better staff as he was never great at developing talent and neither was his staff. GM Graves seemed like a bigger reason for the lack of success of the team. I think Whiz can be successful with the right people around him (Warner and Haley) but needs help getting those people. But once he has ’em, he can make it happen.

    Either way, Whiz changed around the organization. We made some good runs and he implemented some things that changed our expectations of this organization. I hope we can get someone in here to take it to the next level.

  11. By truths4all on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Are NFL professionals (owners and GMs) incredibly stupid? Why would any team be interested in Whisenhut after his most recent track records for the past 3 years show solid incompetence (5-11, 8-8, 5-11) and proves beyond reasonable doubt that it was mainly Kurt Warner who delivered the titles and SB appearance? What has Whisenhut done in Warner’s absence that makes him a viable head coach prospect? Failed QB evaluation, assessment, development, and management? Failed management in developing and attaining a decent offensive line? How about the lack of emerging star running backs and tight ends? How about receivers who continually ran the wrong routes and failed to recognize the correct hot reads with the QBs? How about the lack of offensive innovation and imaginative plays and play calling (if first and second downs resulted in significant yardage lost, the 3rd down play was always a draw play)?
    With Whisenhut’s job performance on display, what team would actually interview him for a HC job?

    Sure Whisenhut puts on a good front, but the Cards and the rest of us have now learned and seen what the Steelers knew before and why they chose not to promote from within and hire Whisenhut for their 2007 HC vacancy.

  12. By Patrick Eagan on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    andy ried drafting Kolb… Very ironic.

  13. By bobkiely on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply


    I’ve been saying everything you wrote for weeks. You must be a very smart guy! HNYear

  14. By Dynosoar on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Of the 7 head coaches let go, I’d look elsewhere. (“Unless they re-hire the Whiz.” he said while grinning broadly.)

    My thoughts on the Reid – Kolb connection, Reid benched Kolb in favor of Vick and then traded him. Then again, for those who want Kolb gone, maybe hiring Reid is the best choice. If Reid is the best man to get the most out of Kevin as QB, why didn’t he do it in Philly?

    Lovie has been on the chopping block in Chicago for several seasons now; I just don’t see him as our man.

    Todd Haley, really? If he’s hired I’ll support him, but really? Everyone says Whizenhunt was only great because of Warner. If we use the same standard, what has Todd Haley done since he left Warner that would show he’s the next HC? Kansas City? Pittsburgh this season? What? I just don’t see it.

    Patrick Eagan, now there’s some thoughtful insight. (Read his post above.)

    From what I’ve been reading, my Head Coach wish list with DC and OC is below (I know this is my wish list so please agree/disagree at will)

    1. Dynosoar – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Kurt Warner – OC (C’mon, it’s my wish list.)
    Dynosoar – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Off. staff hired from posters to this site!
    2. Kurt Warner – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Chip Kelly – OC
    Kurt Warner – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Norv Turner – OC
    3. Urban Meyer – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Kurt Warner – OC
    Urban Meyer – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Chip Kelly – OC
    Urban Meyer – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Norv Turner – OC
    4. Brian Kelly – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Kurt Warner – OC
    Brian Kelly – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Chip Kelly – OC
    Brian Kelly – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Norv Turner – OC
    5. Chip Kelly – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Kurt Warner – OC
    Chip Kelly – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Norv Turner – OC
    6. Ray Horton – HC, ??? – DC and Kurt Waner – OC
    Ray Horton – HC, ??? – DC and Chip Kelly – OC
    Ray Horton – HC, ??? – DC and Norv Turner – OC
    7. Mike McCoy – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Kurt Warner – OC
    Mike McCoy – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Chip Kelly – OC
    Mike McCoy – HC, Ray Horton – DC and Norv Turner – OC

    I know great players don’t always make great coaches (Russ Grimm, Mike Singletary), but sometimes they do (Ray Horton). Let’s get Kurt Warner out of television and back into Cardinals Red.

    I love the idea of Ray Horton as a head coach and depending on his answer to the following question, would move him up or down on my list.

    “With what you’ve done to mold this defense into an elite (or almost elite) unit and your previous statement about wanting to win a Super Bowl as a DC, what is your plan to keep the defense at this level of performance, or to improve it, if you’re head coach and not the DC?”

    Cobra, may I post this elsewhere if it will get more readership? HaHa, you know whereof I jest, uhh, I mean speak.

  15. By Patrick on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    I was on board with Whisenhunt until this year. I still wish him the best. If Whisenhunt learned from his mistakes, it will make him that much better in his next coaching job. Maybe he will realize his offensive system is not so great any quarterback can suceed in it. Maybe he will learn that giving the tackles a little help from tight ends and running backs is not a bad thing. Maybe he will learn great players are not found on the Steelers waiver wire. Mabe he will learn a great offensive line is not found in second tier free agents and fourth round to seventh round draft picks. If he can learn some of these leasons (among others), he could be terrific in his next job!

  16. By bobkiely on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Chad, everything you wrote, I’ve been saying for weeks. You must be a very smart guy! Whiz’s biggest problem was Graves diddn’t do his job. (Offensive line)

  17. By jocards on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    I’ll bet Polian could just about write his own ticket but if he would conisder coming to Arizona as GM he’d be a great hire IMO.

  18. By Dynosoar on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Happy New Year!

    I’m looking at next years opponents and I’m licking my chops. Based on this year, I think we’ve got an exciting schedule and should do quite well. In another post someone said 9-7; based on the schedule, I’ll say 11-5. (Losses to San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Houston and someone else.)

  19. By Mr Robles on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren does Management ask core players for there opnions on who they would like as there head coach?

  20. By Darren Urban on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Mr. Robles —

    RE: Core players

    They did last time when Whiz ended up being the one hired. Not sure if it will happen this time around.

  21. By Patrick Eagan on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, How true is this?

  22. By cardsalltheway on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Bill L.,
    “Whiz at the Chargers or Bills……..Lucky Fitzpatrick or Rivers….NOT!!! ”

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Any QB that hears they have to work under Ken W. should look for the exit door. A miracle would have to happen for Ken W. to have an average offense. I’ve always liked the Bills but if they hire Ken W. my sympathy goes out to them and the fans. Marv Levy won’t have to worry about another Bills coach showing him up anytime soon if Ken W. goes to Buffalo, Levy was smart and didn’t make dumb decisions. I’m going to miss Ken W. like a comedian would’ve rather had Mitt Romney win the election.

    Fitz: “Fitz, however, added — again — it doesn’t really come up. “If they ask me any questions I’ll be always open to talk and give them my opinion, but it hasn’t happened in nine years so I don’t expect it to happen any time soon,” he said. ” I’ll be ready when my numbers’ called.”

    Fitz should’ve went into the office and shared his opinion while Ken W. was here, if this is true I blame Fitz. Things stunk so bad I’d think you’d have to speak up in order to keep your sanity. Keeping “it” all bottled up doesn’t do any good. Hey Fitz, it’s time to grow up and speak your mind because “it” just might help you and the team.

  23. By JB on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    If the Bidwill’s have really changed and see then $$$ spent for talent. It’s like any other business investment. You get what you pay for!!!

    I’m a season ticket holder & love the Cards but I have to say if Bidwill’s start to go back to the old cheap ways, I & many others will not be renewing tickets. This is the tipping point.

    I liked Whiz but I think he ran the team more like a punch press (last couple of years)

    I think big NO on Ried, he’s lost touch and why would he put him self in the same situation he just left.

    I like Polian GM
    Horton HC
    Chip Kelly OC, but I don’t think he’ll take anything less then HC.
    Norv Turner OC

    Horton as HC/DC would not be responsible for creating a offense that’s the OC job. That was part of the problem with Whiz. HC job is motivation and execution, Horton has shown both!!

    Off topic but PLEASE DO NOT DRAFT BARKLEY unless it the 3rd round!!!!!!!
    QB No on Vick
    QB yes Smith, Moore

  24. By cardsalltheway on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    “I think big NO on Ried, he’s lost touch and why would he put him self in the same situation he just left.”

    I don’t get all the “hate” for Ried already. I’m not saying you(JB) hate him but it sure does sound like some fans do. I’m willing to give the guy a chance but JB, why wouldn’t Ried want to coach in AZ? It’s not like his offense could do any worse than Ken W.’s – it’s a no fail proposition since he’ll improve the offense no matter what. You don’t really think we would be the worst NFL offense again in 2013 do you?

  25. By sarah on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    I agree with Kevin below. People started calling for Whiz to be fired after the Atlanta stunt and Whiz was just saying stuff to justify it. New York was ridiculous keeping Lindley in, even the NY press were scratching their heads. At the end of the day i do believe Skelton’s picks and misfires (like Fitz in the end zone in Atlanta) cost Whiz his job. Skelton had his confidence stripped up 13-3 and then got stuck in a killer game vs Seattle after Lindley floundered for the whole Jets game. Skelton should have started the Jets game or been inserted when it was clear Lindley was doing nothing. Skelton suffered from line issues and no running game and only short passes given lack of protection.

    By Kevin S on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    ”A little surprised Mikey pulled the plug on Whiz only because I thought he was too cheap. Someone mentioned above the Kolb trade, and then sticking with Kolb/Skelton again this year was his undoing. Perhaps, but I actually think Whiz is still employed if he hadn’t reacted so dramatically to Skelton’s missing Fitz in the ATL game… I mean, 7 passes into that game, with a lead, after what had been a decent game by Skelton, was probably not the time to switch to Lindley (who managed a whoping 64 passing yards over 3 quarters while we scored 6 more points the whole rest of the way). If Skelton stays in that game we probably win. And then Skelton probably buys himself at least a couple more starts after knocking off the team with the best record in the conference — and even though I don’t think much of Skelton as a QB, I take it as almost a given that he would’ve beaten the Jets. Those two more wins and we’re 7-9 and I think Whiz survives given the O-line, Kolb, Beanie, RW, etc. injuries. (The Feely kick vs. BUF doesn’t hit the upright as well and we’re 8-8 and he definitely survives IMO.) So while you could argue some macro-level moves did him in, I think the micro-level game-management of the QB situation in the ATL game arguably was just as significant, if you agree we’d have two more wins but for that quick yank of Skelton.”

  26. By JB on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply


    I don’t hate Reid, I think he is one of the best coaches in the NFL. He spent time at NAU so this in not a new place for him.
    “But” personally (me) I think he should take a year off.
    I don’t care who you are, when you lose a son I think there should be some time off and I think it would make him a better coach. He can say it didn’t effect him (as a coach) but that’s what is expected for him to say.

    “It’s not like his offense could do any worse than Ken W.’s – it’s a no fail proposition since he’ll improve the offense no matter what.”
    Honestly it’s a no fail proposition for anyone. When your the bottom.
    Really what it comes down to for me is if we lose Horton now we have to start over with a new defense too. We are built for a 3-4 and a good one at that, where do we go (find another 3-4 guy).
    Offensively I was tiered of seeing the same 5 formations every time we had the ball. So anyone could do better. I like bring in some new blood.

  27. By brad oneill on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    my wish list for a new head coach

    !. i want a guy who makes a decision on a qb right away if qb needs replacing fine but i want everyone to know who is qb within a week of camp starting.

    2. i want a guy who values contributors. i hated losing Boldin, Breaston, DRC, etc. and i realize this is a long cardinal tradition to lose good people but i want a coach that fights for guys to stay.

    3. along with the above i dont want to see the same kind of turnover we had, way too many guys were lost after the super bowl run.

    4. i want a guy that runs the ball on 3rd and short.

    5. i want a guy that plays to players strengths. Whiz took kolbs safety blanket away. everyone has tendencies and a good coach works with them not against them. if a guy has a tendency to run out of the pocket and find his outlet dont get rid of the outlet reciever hoping to break the guy of the habit.

    6. i want a coach that reaches out to the fans, Whiz did this beautifully, my only problem with him in this category was the line of bs he gave in an effort to keep team info close to the vest most of his press conferences were completely interchangeable.

    7. I want creativity in the offense but i dont need to see the wildcat. let peterson get good at stopping the opposition i dont want him taking hits on lottery plays.

    8. I want some emotion. professionalism is all well and good, but when things are going bad i want to see clipboards fly. it may not do any good but i find it refreshing when i feel like someone other than me is throwing stuff. lol.

  28. By JB on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Whiz did this to him self. Every one praised how level headed he was. That was only in the press room. He had lots of knee jerk reactions this year. Skelton in Atl. (I still think it was the right move at the time but should have brought him back in for the second half). Another jerk reaction was basically benching W. Powell because he missed a call that got Kolb hurt. W. Powell is avg. +4 yards a carry??? Wells 2.3 Howling 3.1. I’m not surprised Skelton, Kolb and every other player in the locker room was scared to play. Whiz ran the team like your one mistake away from getting benched for 2 weeks. Yes you should be a bit scared about screwing up a few times but not once. That’s why Whiz would not bring in Skelton in the Jets game, which if he did we would have won. He was still punishing him.

  29. By Terry E on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Brad Oneill-nice point on 2. – Losing Boldin shouldn’t have been an option, DRC & Breaston worth both high on my list of players I like. I have seen Dan Binkley post he wants Todd Haley. I live near KC and there is no way we should go after Haley. He is a huge jerk and is seems to be making waves in Pittsburg too. I’m not sure how we made it to the Super Bowl with him. I have been feeling like the more I think about it that Ray Horton should be our next coach. I’m sure he is capable of bringing in a viable D-Coordinator but I believe we need a dynamic OC. I also would like to see Bill Polian come in as GM. Romeo Crennel is actually a great coach and I wouldn’t mind see him coming in as DC. Another poster was throwing around Kurt Warner as OC, I’m not sure if he is interested but that is an intriquing thought.

  30. By frustrated on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Well the good news is that I don’t have to ask you every Monday morning now if they have fired Whiz yet. GO CARDINALS!!!

  31. By georgiebird on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Cards are in a tough spot as we begin 2013:
    1) NFC West is now one of the toughest divisions in the NFL
    2) Cards need a franchise QB and none are available either in the draft or FA
    3) Cards need an outstanding HC yet they are talking to a has-been like Reid and a very overrated DC in Horton.

    It’s time for the Bidwills to do the extraordinary in hiring a GM and HC. Guys like Reid and Horton may do an ok job-maybe the Cards can eventually go to 7-9 and even 8-8. But that record is no longer close to being good enough. Five losses in the division is a bad start for any season.
    So Bidwill family, surprise me, go out and find the new Don Coryell and this time make sure you keep him around a little longer.

  32. By Mr Robles on Jan 1, 2013 | Reply

    Thats cool, like what the Captains only?

  33. By clssylssy on Jan 2, 2013 | Reply

    I think everyone around the league believes Andy Reid is a slamdunk for the job and that Horton’s interview is a mere formality to comply with the Rooney rule. If Horton was smart he’d pack up and take his talent elsewhere as Andy Reid will no doubt dismantle the good things we have going (can’t let Horton show him up if there is to be job security) and put his people and his philosophy in place. M. Bidwell and Andy Reid are kindred spirits of sorts and M. Bidwell needs validation for the $67M Kolb blunder; A. Reid also paid Micheal Vick $60M who proved to be also be a bust! …that he says, he will “fix” Kolb sounds really scary, like he’s gonna make a silk purse …DOUBT THAT! Neither Reid or Kolb have much left in the tank but Mr. Bidwell is determined to squeeze that last nickel out at the expense of the team….talk about the tail wagging the dog! A.Reid is coming off probably the worse year of his life so what makes him so attractive…he’ll work CHEAP…nobody else is interested.
    I’m sure K. Whisenhunt will land on his feet and go on to coach another team to the SB, he’s has success in the past and he knows the way when he has the right people around him and the budget to pay replacement players. I personally would like to see him in Chicago. Whereever he lands I will be cheering for him and his new team (hope it’s not one on my “list”) I think fans and Mr. Bidwell have overlooked the fact that he is respected by his peers and even Payton Manning was interested in playing for him (not working for the Bidwells) and being part of this thing that he was beginning to build in Arizona. In 20 years, it was the first time the Cards had a measure of respect and Kurt Warner can thank Coach for giving him the chance to go out a hero rather than just another old player at the end of his career. Shortly after the announcement was made, a reporter tried to catch some of our offensive players whose reaction were that of shock, disbelief, and numbness. Clearly, Mr. Bidwell has no idea of the bond between a player and his coach and should probably look around…maybe take a page from the Tom Benson playbook. The Cards have no money to bring in any real talent and Mr. Bidwell has impulsively thrown his players like Larry Fitzgerald, Daryl Washing, Patrick Peterson, Adrian Wilson, the Hypen and all UNDER THE BUS.

  34. By Darren Urban on Jan 2, 2013 | Reply

    All —

    RE: Bidwill

    It is spelled with an “i”.


    Please make a note of it.

  35. By erik on Jan 2, 2013 | Reply

    I heard Keim and Mike were at the Oregon practice. Kelly would absolutely be the best choice for head coach.
    I doubt it will happen but that is who I am holding out hope for.

  36. By Campbells on Jan 2, 2013 | Reply

    I wonder what Bills fans think about Whiz going there???

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