The best news here is that I no longer have to know how to spell “Whisenhunt,” or at least not nearly as often. This is usually the most stressful moment of my work day.
Much like Norv Turner, Ken Whisenhunt was to some degree responsible for his own downfall in Arizona. This is a Cardinals team that’s had a 5-11 record in two of his six seasons, and an even 8-8 record in two others. They made the playoffs twice, advancing to the Super Bowl once where they lost to the Steelers. But since their last playoff appearance in 2009, Arizona has been utterly mediocre, with a combined record of 18-30 during those three years.
Regardless of the circumstances, that’s plenty of justification and time to give a head coach his pleasantly colored pink paper, which happened today as Whisenhunt became the seventh Black Monday casualty. However, the frustration for Whisenhunt lies in those circumstances. One central problem was far out of his control, which is why general manager Rod Graves has also been fired.
After Kurt Warner’s retirement, Graves failed to address the quarterback position. He tried, but now the Kevin Kolb trade is viewed as a scouting debacle, with Kolb vastly underachieving, while Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is still a very capable if below elite cover corner in Philadelphia.
So following Warner’s departure Whisenhunt was forced to cope with Kolb, who was so atrocious despite his hefty trade price that there was an honest and legitimate quarterback competition during training camp this past summer. Kolb only narrowly beat out John Skelton, and all seemed well when the Cards won their first four games, powered mainly by a strong defense while the quarterback did his best Alex Smith impression.
Then when Kolb suffered a rib injury in Week 6 that eventually ended his season, the unraveling quickly began. After Week 4 the Cardinals won just one more game, a reputation-shredding implosion led by the play of Skelton, Ryan Lindley, and Brian Hoyer, who combined to maybe look like Matt Leinart.
Blaming Whisenhunt for his inability to be a quarterback capable of throwing a spiral isn’t fair. But fair is for wimpy kids. Only a dude named Lombardi would survive a season with nine straight losses.
Say, Rex Ryan, we hear you need an offensive coordinator?