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.
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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.