Can Whizz And Hunt

Posted: January 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 20 Comments »

How’s that for a title?  I totally stole that from one of Les Bowen’s followers on Twitter (Ken Whisenhunt / Can whizz and hunt)  … pure genius. Faulkner, Shakespeare, and Poe are all hacks.  Don’t even get me started on Beckett or Danielle Steele.

The Eagles met with Ken Whisenhunt on Monday.  This really is a smart interview.  Whiz is one of the most confusing coaches to figure out.  He’s too successful to ignore, but also presided over a team that really fell apart.  Both he and Andy Reid finished the season on 1-11 streaks.  Is this really the guy to fix our problems?  The only way to figure out what you think of Whiz is to meet with him and ask him the tough questions directly.

Whiz was the TEs coach in Pittsburgh from 2001-2003.  Mike Mularkey left for the Bills HC gig and Whiz became the Steelers OC from 2004-2006.  He was part of the group that drafted and developed Ben Roethlisberger.  In those 3 years, Ben had QB ratings of 98.1, 98.6, and 75.4   The Super Bowl hangover got to Ben and the Steelers.

Ben was kept on a tight leash in those days.  2005 was Ben’s second season and he was 9-3 in his 12 starts.  He threw 268 passes.  Nick Foles played in 7 games this year and threw 265 passes.  The Steeler offense was built on the run game.  The passing game was vertical, which made reads easier on Ben.  Hines Ward caught 69 passes.  No one else caught 40.  Ben averaged an amazing 8.9 yards per pass attempt.  8.0 is considered very good.  8.5 is beyond that.  8.9?  Forget about it.  Vick was at 8.1 in 2010, when he was throwing long balls all over the place.  McNabb’s best was 8.4 in 2006.

Whiz got to Arizona and led them to an 8-8 record in 2007.  That may not sound like much, but consider that it was their best record since 9-7 in 1998.  The Cards won the NFC West the next year and made it all the way to the Super Bowl.  They won the division again in 2009 before losing in the Divisional round of the playoffs.  Kurt Warner retired at that point and things haven’t been so good since.

Whiz was 5-11, 8-8, and 5-11 in his final 3 years.  The offense was explosive under Warner, but awful without him.  This is where things get tricky.  Whiz drafted John Skelton and Ryan Lindley, signed UDFA Max Hall, signed UFA Derek Anderson, and traded for Kevin Kolb.  This motley group of QBs combined to throw 42 TD passes…in 3 years.  Is that insane or what?

In defense of Whiz, the OL was a mess during this period.  It actually had issues in the good years, but Warner was such a good QB (quick reads, quick release) that he made them look better than they were.  The Cardinals had a ridiculous attitude toward the OL.  They spent only one Top 100 pick on an OL in Whiz’s tenure (Levi Brown, who most think they overdrafted at #5).  There were no trades for a Jason Peters.  There were no Evan Mathis UFA signings where they found a player who turned out to be a terrific fit.

How much of this is on Whiz and how much on GM Rod Graves?  If Whiz had any real say-so, I’d send him packing.  In that same stretch, the Cards spent a pair of 1st round picks on RBs and one on WR Michael Floyd.  How the heck do you do that with no star QB or a stable OL?  That’s insane.

Whiz does have his supporters.  Check out this PFW article on him and the Cards.  When Whiz has the right pieces, he can deliver.  He helped PIT to win a Super Bowl.  He almost won one for the Cards.  Arizona had a stretch of games from 2011 to 2012 where they went 11-2 despite bad QB play.  Whiz had some luck, but also had his guys find ways to win.

The man can coach, but when it comes to QBs…the man better have some really good answers.  His track record ain’t pretty.

* * * * *

Report just came down that Gus Bradley will be coming to Philly on Tuesday for a second meeting.  This could mean he’s the guy.

I’ll be putting up my post on him later tonight.

_


  • D3Keith

    Doesn’t seem like the options at this point are bad.

    Coaches rave about Gus Bradley, as a teacher. Players want to play for him. I’m on board.

    Lovie, Whisenhunt … even Billick have won Super Bowls, and been HC or coordinator on multiple good teams.

    I’d like to get some sense of who Bradley would hire if he’s the man, but I guess we need to have something to discuss in February.

  • Flyin

    It would be real interesting to know how much control Whiz had on personnel decisions. How We and Jeff would know, but I not telling.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

    Midway through another informative, well written article word comes down that the Eagles very well may have their guy, so it’s off to the Gus Bradley piece. Labor of love or not, just wanted to say thanks, Tommy. Your writing and fostering of positive, thought provoking discussion is much appreciated.

  • Flyin

    Tommy, how much of a possibility one or two of the interviewed candidates may end up as a coordinator or other position with the team?

  • http://www.facebook.com/xbcsmith Brett Smith

    You left out the real Wiz killer…

    Leinart was selected tenth overall in the 2006 Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.

    Whiffing on a 1st round QB can set back a franchise a decade. The Leinart debacle was not the Wiz’s fault. There was no “getting through” to Leinart. No coach em up.

    When Kurt retired Leinart should have taken over ala AR in GB. Instead the Wiz was left trying to write his name without anyone who could spell Quarterback.

    And lets not talk about the RBs they drafted. I still laugh about Bennie Wells….

    • http://www.facebook.com/xbcsmith Brett Smith

      On a side note why does the NFL Network allow LT talk? His grasp of the English language is suspect. It is like watching the Waterboy…

    • D3Keith

      Good point on Leinart and whiffing on a high-pick QB.

  • Baloophi

    Ray Rhodes. Andy Reid. Gus Bradley. What do these coaches have in common?

    HINT: The answer is right under your nose. I say again, right under your nose…

    • tad

      They’re all never-nudes.

    • Steven Dileo

      Looked it up. 3 superbowl HCs in the past 25 years have sported one.

      • D3Keith

        Cowher. Um … who else? Jeff Fisher was a near-miss.

        • Steven Dileo

          Mike Holmgren and Tony Dungy

  • xeynon

    If Bradley is indeed the guy, I’m happy about it. I’ve not heard anybody say anything bad about him; about the closest you can come is to say that as a defensive coach, he may have problems keeping a talented offensive coordinator who can develop the young players we have on that side of the ball effectively. My solution to that problem is to hire a veteran OC who’s either proven he can’t hack it as a head coach and is unlikely to be hired away or doesn’t have ambitions to move up (the offensive version of Jim Johnson, if you will). Too bad Norv Turner’s already been hired, he would have been the perfect guy.

    • Baloophi

      Well, AC Viking and the rest of us demand answers on the disparity in points allowed on the road vs. at home… but other than that, yeah, he seems more intriguing than a re-tread…

      I think hiring a guy who has been a HC for another team (Lovie, Whisenhunt) only to have him coach at a middling level would be maddening…

      • D3Keith

        Of course, hiring that guy (Whisenhunt, Mularkey) for OC wouldn’t be terrible.

      • xeynon

        Seattle’s got an amazing homefield advantage, that’s your answer.

        The guy turned a pretty motley crew of spare parts, has-beens, and role players, along with one blue chipper, into a dominant defense. I don’t care how loud the crowd noise at Qwest Field is or how long the flights visiting teams have to take to get there are, you don’t do that unless you can coach a bit. He’s also got the ringing endorsement of many of the defensive coaches who have worked with him in the past, including Pete Carroll and Monte Kiffin, and has survived multiple coaching staff house-cleanings. Those are all really good signs.

  • Steven Dileo

    I was thinking the same thing during last years draft. When they drafted Michael Floyd I was so confused. How can they invest so much in a QB and not bring inanyone that is capable of protecting him? I know you shouldn’t draft for need, but it’s not like Floyd was the next Calvin Johnson

  • Steven Dileo

    Rebuild the defense and salvage as many young talents they have. That should be the #1 priority. I still think Graham, Kendricks, Allen, and DRC can have good careers with the Eagles.

    • xeynon

      I’d say get the O line in shape should be priority #1, but if so the defense is #1A.

    • D3Keith

      The No. 1 priority is hire a leader who will be here when these guys are out of the NFL or on their last legs.

      And the No. 1 current priority is figure out quarterback. But bringing in a defensive guy to get those picks to play well is right up there.