Skip to content

Cardinals fire G.M. Rod Graves, coach Ken Whisenhunt

Rod Graves, Ken Whisenhunt AP

Arizona Cardinals General Manager Rod Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt have been fired.

Graves, who has been with the franchise since 1997, was fired today, and Whisenhunt was fired as well, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

The Cardinals have plenty of talent on defense and one of the game’s best playmakers at wide receiver, but in the end this move mostly comes down to the inability of Graves and Whisenhunt to find a competent starting quarterback. The disastrous decision to trade for Kevin Kolb and give him a lucrative new contract, and the team’s inability to land anyone better, has sealed the fate of Graves.

Now the Cardinals will look for a new coach and a new G.M. — and those men will need to find a new quarterback.

Permalink 75 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Arizona Cardinals, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
75 Responses to “Cardinals fire G.M. Rod Graves, coach Ken Whisenhunt”
  1. fuglyflorio says: Dec 31, 2012 1:20 PM

    He was all set to close the deal for Vick … by sending the Eagles their #1 and #2 picks.

  2. buddysguys says: Dec 31, 2012 1:21 PM

    ray horton will stay and take over team.

  3. JackAcid says: Dec 31, 2012 1:21 PM

    Whiz was on borrowed time anyway.

  4. ishallcomment says: Dec 31, 2012 1:21 PM

    I guess you could say he…

    *put on sunglasses*

    Dug his own grave.

    YYEEEEEAAHHHHHH!

  5. logast says: Dec 31, 2012 1:21 PM

    Stuck with Kolb, how are they going to grab a free agent QB? Alex Smith’s name has been bandied about for a few weeks now, but doubt they can afford both.

  6. broncobeta says: Dec 31, 2012 1:21 PM

    Kevin Kolb leaves a wake of destruction wherever he goes.

  7. tdk24 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:22 PM

    Holy cow!

  8. nflofficeadmin says: Dec 31, 2012 1:22 PM

    Sandman is coming today..damn.

  9. beardinals says: Dec 31, 2012 1:22 PM

    Whiz seems like a nice guy and all the pundits seem to think he’s a great coach. Best of luck to him.

  10. lennydpocketqb says: Dec 31, 2012 1:23 PM

    The blood is on your hands Kurt Warner!

  11. jakec4 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:23 PM

    A new QB like who? It’s getting so bad with teams with no QB that trying to trade for Matt Flynn becomes a decent option if Alex Smith or Vick doesn’t float your boat.

  12. fissels says: Dec 31, 2012 1:24 PM

    Whisenhunt will be a good HC for somebody. Gotta have a good QB though.

  13. 1oldpro says: Dec 31, 2012 1:26 PM

    The decision to trade for Kolb was only disasterous because Whizzer doesn’t have a clue about QB’s. Not a clue! Arizona is a place where QB’s went to get killed. That is a field full of grave markers! Warner should get the Medal of Valor for what he managed to pull off.

  14. dexterismyhero says: Dec 31, 2012 1:26 PM

    Their dropping like flies…………………..

  15. redskins28 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:26 PM

    Whisenhunt deserves better, that guy is a good coach. Hope he lands in Detroit. How that idiot Schwartz still has a job is beyond me.

  16. justintuckrule says: Dec 31, 2012 1:27 PM

    No wonder certain franchises perpetually suck. Whiz was not the problem and Graves, like most GMs, couldn’t find a franchise QB because they don’t grow on trees.

  17. gallaghedj311 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:27 PM

    reunite Reid with Kolb!

  18. realfootballfan says: Dec 31, 2012 1:28 PM

    About time, how long could you live off of a fluke Super Bowl appearance in the weakest NFC field in years with a core of players that your predecessor picked?

    Cardinals are going on the cheap, so they need to figure out who’s a good up and coming talent evaluator ready for his first GM job like Grigson in Indy and promote Horton. Also, finally find a franchise QB because Kolb and the other stiffs on the current roster do not qualify.

  19. klutch14u says: Dec 31, 2012 1:29 PM

    Don’t worry Whiz, Cowher will have a spot for you on his staff in KC

  20. steelerben says: Dec 31, 2012 1:29 PM

    We’ll take you back in the Burgh, Whiz.

  21. kingdm8 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:30 PM

    The trade for Kolb had very little to do with these firings. He was actually playing well before getting injured. This comes down to the absolutely terrible play of the offensive line. No talent, no depth and no offense to speak of due to a complete lack of adequate blockers. Kolb will be fine will protection. But, we have to get some linemen in here that can do the job. Batiste, Snyder and Colledge were three of the worst offensive linemen I’ve ever seen.

  22. newagerocker says: Dec 31, 2012 1:30 PM

    Yeah I’ll take one without Whiz!

  23. banvard316 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:33 PM

    Good!

  24. daknight93 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:34 PM

    Im sure cardinal fans are happy…no surprise here about this news!

  25. chacochicken says: Dec 31, 2012 1:36 PM

    If Andy Reid ever offers you a QB run the other way.

  26. anpsteel says: Dec 31, 2012 1:36 PM

    Whiz should get another chance. He was not the problem in AZ.

  27. Canyonero says: Dec 31, 2012 1:36 PM

    Not glad to see Whiz get fired, he coached the personnel he had and did a great job. Cardinals will likely regret this move in a NFC West that gets tougher every year.

    It’ll be interesting to see where he lands next.

  28. errybodytaps says: Dec 31, 2012 1:38 PM

    Not a Raiders fan but Oakland should be calling Whiz right meow…he’d be quite the upgrade over Knapp.

  29. egomaniac247 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:38 PM

    I’d REALLY like to see Andy Reid come out to the desert and get Kolb back on track.

    The only problem is that I think we lose Horton (DC) if he doesn’t get the head coaching job in AZ.

    Also, if any one could use a year off to regroup and focus on family, it’s Andy Reid.

  30. wewantmoretebowandfavrearticles says: Dec 31, 2012 1:40 PM

    If they keep DRC and trade for Orton instead of Kolb both men still have a job. Listening to ESPN’s dot connections and evaluation of players ultimately cost Graves his job. The fact that Hoyer, a street free agent, came in and out-performed all of their backups and project players speaks volumes.

  31. hor2012 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:40 PM

    Andy Reid got both of them fired by fooling them into thinking Kevin Kolb was a great QB. I think Arizona is a nice state but I’ve just never gotten use to the Cards playing thier. St Louis is where the belong

  32. prince5000 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:40 PM

    gallaghedj311 says:
    Dec 31, 2012 1:27 PM
    reunite Reid with Kolb!

    ___________________________________

    i’m not sure why i cracked up when i read this…

  33. raiderufan says: Dec 31, 2012 1:40 PM

    I think Kolb’s major fault is that he’s made of glass behind a line that couldn’t block my 3 y/o.

    He was 3-1 with 8 td’s and 3 picks thru 4 games. 59% completion and solid yardage totals…plus he trusts Fitz. I think they need to really build a new line and give him one more try to stay healthy.

  34. illinininer says: Dec 31, 2012 1:41 PM

    As a 49ers fan, this is good news. I feel this is a mistake. I hope for their sake they have a significant upgrade locked in and Ray Horton is not an upgrade.

  35. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 31, 2012 1:41 PM

    Black Monday continues…

  36. rajbais says: Dec 31, 2012 1:42 PM

    Ironically, while everyone picked the Rams to win the NFC West In 2011 I picked the Cards.

    Although,
    I felt that after the Carson Palmer trade that trading Kolb for a 2nd and DRC should have been replaced by doing what the Raiders did.

    At least the offense would not have stunk.

    With all that said for an untalented team he inherited he did a good job in 2011.

  37. atomicpunk says: Dec 31, 2012 1:46 PM

    Graves was not meant to be a GM he just worked his way into this position he is more of a front office cap guy, Dennis Green could evaluate talent just could not coach which helped Graves keep his job. Coach Whiz was a nice guy maybe to nice and too stubborn for his own good he will land somewhere else and learn from this experience.

    Promote Ray Horton and bring in Norv Turner as the OC there is already people in place to replace Graves.

  38. mcmeen0576 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:46 PM

    Wow! talk about a coach that should NOT have been fired! I would love for the Bears to bring this guy in!

  39. 4evrnyt says: Dec 31, 2012 1:47 PM

    This is a direct result of a complete failure in replacing Kurt Warner. Neither the GM or Coach were able to find either through the draft or free agency a comparable replacement.

    The GM ultimately pulled the trigger on a disastrous trade and the Whiz might have kept his job even though he failed to groom multiple prospects if it wasn’t for his offensive line completely collapsing underneath him.

  40. 4evrnyt says: Dec 31, 2012 1:47 PM

    egomaniac247 says:
    Dec 31, 2012 1:38 PM
    “I’d REALLY like to see Andy Reid come out to the desert and get Kolb back on track.”

    Why do you think Reid was willing to let Kolb go in the first place? He’s no bueno.

  41. stevenwilliams2013 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:48 PM

    I liked Whisenhunt,..he did the best he could with what he had.

  42. sammysushi says: Dec 31, 2012 1:49 PM

    Canyonero says:
    Dec 31, 2012 1:36 PM
    Not glad to see Whiz get fired, he coached the personnel he had and did a great job. Cardinals will likely regret this move in a NFC West that gets tougher every year.

    It’ll be interesting to see where he lands next.

    ________________________

    I don’t think many outside of Arizona realize that Whis had the last say on the personnel: players and coaching staff. Graves was not functioning as a true GM; he was mostly working the contracts. What Whis had to work with is what Whis chose.

  43. jeffesky says: Dec 31, 2012 1:51 PM

    kind of a suprised cause its not easy finding a QB but where they failed were in thier back ups. If they had been smart the Cards would have picked up a veteran QB like Orton,Hasslebeck or even T-jack. Poor job of recognizing the need of a solid back ,especialy with an unproven starter. Go get Andy R or L Smith.

  44. bucfan4lyfe says: Dec 31, 2012 1:52 PM

    Shocker….

  45. tdk24 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:53 PM

    I’ll bet Big Ben is calling him right now.

  46. silvernblackpa says: Dec 31, 2012 1:56 PM

    Dear Reggie McKenzie: there’s your new offensive co-ordinator and possible new head coach if Dennis Allen flops again in 2013. Make the call.

  47. mrplow3 says: Dec 31, 2012 2:02 PM

    Fire that stiff Haley and bring Whiz home to steel town.

    Come on Ken, you know you miss that Iron City Beer!

  48. rajbais says: Dec 31, 2012 2:03 PM

    My Prediction:

    Andy Reid to the Cards!!!

    He’ll have Kolb, the Valley Forge Military Academy (Philadelphia) alum Larry Fitzgerald as his Philly connections. He can bring in all the Cleveland firees, Juan Castillo, and keep Ray Horton.

    Besides, who can Horton bring on for the offense if he’s the head coach.

  49. justintuckrule says: Dec 31, 2012 2:16 PM

    In the modern NFL, a coach’s fate has as much to do with luck as it does with skill. Take for instance Mike Shanahan. If RGIII is a bust, Shanny would be in line with the rest of the casualties today. Does that make Shanny any less of a coach than Whiz? I say Whiz is better because he got the Cards to consistently overperform. On the other hand, the pre-RGIII Skins had equal talent than the Cards and were terrible for the better part of 15 years. Put RGIII on the Cards and that team probably wins 13 games behind that defense. Point is, can’t blame the coach all the time. Now, the Cards can go through another 5 year break-in period of a new coach/system.

  50. dmface says: Dec 31, 2012 2:27 PM

    If you lose 9 stra8 games you should get fired.

  51. banky74 says: Dec 31, 2012 2:28 PM

    Seems like a rather foolish decision to fire the only coach that’s ever took the Cards to the SB in the modern era.

    Last time they were there was what? 1970?

    The way this franchise is run, they probably won’t get back until 2070.

  52. nananatman says: Dec 31, 2012 2:33 PM

    Put a line in front of Kolb for once, there aren’t any good QB’s in the draft so keep Kolb and Hoyer and build an offensive line.

  53. durno99 says: Dec 31, 2012 2:34 PM

    Harvin Webb and a first for Fitz…….lets get it done!

  54. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: Dec 31, 2012 2:37 PM

    Haley will be fired and Whisenhunt will go back to the Steelers. Mark it.

  55. ajb3313 says: Dec 31, 2012 2:44 PM

    Kevin Kolb wasn’t the problem. He’s not very good, mind you, but he was at least serviceable when healthy. It was Skelton and Lindley that stunk up the joint, but even ahead of them it was the offensive line. To throw it all on Kolb seems awfully unfair to me.

  56. banvard316 says: Dec 31, 2012 2:45 PM

    For everyone saying Whiz wasn’t the problem in AZ. Let’s remember that he had all final say on the roster and roster moves. He asked for Kolb and for some reason started Skelton over Kolb in the beginning of the season. He knew what he had at oline and decided it was good enough.

    Graves was nothing but a Bidwill “YES” man and it was time for him to go. He was more of a talking head that didn’t really make any football decisions.

  57. Gabbo says: Dec 31, 2012 2:47 PM

    Kolb is an average QB and is ok enough. After all, the Cards were 4-1 in games he survived this year. His problem is that he’s brittle, so maybe having one of the worse NFL O-line isn’t going to help.

    The fact Cards overpaid him isn’t his fault.

  58. lionsplayoffs says: Dec 31, 2012 2:49 PM

    Man Cowher’s phone has to be ringing off the hook today. There have to be at least 5 teams begging to talk to him.

  59. thehighhat says: Dec 31, 2012 2:51 PM

    Thanks Kevin!!!

    Love,
    Ken & Rod

  60. arson81 says: Dec 31, 2012 2:55 PM

    I guess Kevin Kolb is a” Coach Killer” too then huh?

    I wonder how inviting this job will be for a big name coach to pass up. That is a really really good defense. I’m not a huge fan of the guy but I could see Gruden taking that gig and bringing in a veteran retread project at QB like he likes to do.

    Better have a strong GM candidate if thats the case tho, Chucky will take you over the “fiscal cliff” faster than our government.

  61. realfootballfan says: Dec 31, 2012 3:15 PM

    The people making excuses for Whisenhunt are laughable. Who do you think made the personnel decisions there? If Lovie Smith deserved to get fired with no personnel involvement and winning seasons even with no playoff berths, what reason is there for Whisenhunt to have kept his job?

    He did himself in because he should have brought in a personnel guru to help him, instead of trying to make those decisions on his own.

  62. mazblast says: Dec 31, 2012 3:30 PM

    banky74,

    Actually, the Cards had never been in the Super Bowl until their appearance there under Whisenhunt.

    hor2012,

    If you’re going to say a transplanted team belongs anywhere, it should be the town they were in the longest. In the Cardinals’ case, that would be Chicago–and given their performance there, it’s no wonder they left/were forced out.

  63. flipadelphia77777 says: Dec 31, 2012 3:33 PM

    Whis sucked. Pick up Reid and reunite him with Kolb and they’ll be set

  64. mazblast says: Dec 31, 2012 3:36 PM

    The Cardinals have created a big problem for themselves here.

    If they promote Horton to HC, they have to hire an offensive coordinator and build an offense almost from scratch, behind a HC who’s from the other side of the ball.

    If they hire a strong offensive mind who can build a competent to good offense, that person may demand the right to hire his own DC, and they lose a quality cooridnator in Horton.

    If they hire a lesser-known OC and tell him that Horton is his DC, period, it undermines the new coach and they may lose Horton anyway.

    If they hire a retread, they may get both a failure and someone the fans won’t support, and Horton walks again.

    Were I the one making the decision, I’d go after Bruce Arians. IMO he did a great job filling in for Coach Pagano with the Colts.

  65. fordmandalay says: Dec 31, 2012 4:22 PM

    I’d like to remind fans of ‘The Whiz’ that HE made the decisions that Derek Anderson and John Skelton were the teams starting QBs at the beginning of 2 of the last 3 years. Whiz can’t recognize a good QB if one fell on him out of a tree.

  66. bnwpnw says: Dec 31, 2012 5:15 PM

    Makes sense. The NFC West is looking to be BRUTAL the next couple years – except for the Cards

  67. ihatetheeffingjets says: Dec 31, 2012 5:15 PM

    Shouldn’t the coach who lead the effing Cardinals (!) to the effing Super Bowl (!) have had a slightly longer leash? Pittsburgh doesn’t fire him in the same situation. New England doesn’t. The Giants don’t. I guess that’s why the Steelers, Patriots and Giants and the Steelers, Patriots and Giants. And the Cardinals are . . . . well.

  68. ihatetheeffingjets says: Dec 31, 2012 5:17 PM

    “I wonder how inviting this job will be for a big name coach to pass up.”.

    Yeah because working for the Bidwills is any coach’s dream job….

  69. azbirds says: Dec 31, 2012 5:17 PM

    Terrible decision.

    First things first, who exactly are you going to get/coerce that is going to be better? It isn’t like the Cards have a legacy of winning to restore to greatness; its been a pit of despair and futility for all involved for decades. Good luck suckering an upgrade in coach or GM to the desert.

    The decision to get Kolb seems to have been motivated to keep Fitz happy, which works considering he signed for the rest of his career shortly after the Kolb signing. Giving up DRC is no big loss, its questionable if he’s any better than any of the Cards #2 CBs.

    They made an unsuccessful run at Peyton, but that likely would have been a disaster anyway with the O Line.

    Instead of Peterson they could have drafted a gem like Locker, Ponder or Mallett. I’ll keep P3

    Anderson was a debacle, no doubt, but who else was available at the time? McNabb & Hasslebeck, don’t recall others.

    It isn’t like they’ve been throwing picks away. They have virtually every good player on the team (and some that have since left via FA): Fitzgerald, Wilson, Peterson, Washington, Acho, Dockett, Campbell, Washington, Dansby, Rolle, Antonio Smith, and Pace.

    Weak, Bidwell.

  70. kev86 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:25 PM

    Weren’t the cards close to Peyton? Imagine?

  71. robocop6849 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:38 PM

    For anyone who think Whis is a good couch and his firing is a mistake, his record for the last three years was 18 wins and 30 losses. 2010- 5 wins and 11 losses, 2011- 8 wins and 8 losses, 2012- 5 wins and 11 losses. If that is what you insider a “good coach”, then I hope your team is acquires him. Good luck with that.

  72. mittywalter says: Dec 31, 2012 6:03 PM

    Whisenhunt made personnel decisions. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it was Graves who chose to not pick a O-lineman in the top rounds of the draft the last 5 years. That is all Whis/Grimm.

    If you’re supporting Whis here, it’s clear you don’t watch Cards games. He is a stubborn coach. Stubborn enough to not even let Leinart touch the field and go with … sigh … Derek Anderson of all people, and then continue to call plays as if he’s Warner. To pay so much for a QB in Kolb, but to choose Skelton instead.

    If the Cardinals did keep him, all we’d hear is how they’re the same cheap ol’ Cards not willing to eat the 5.5 million owed. Look at the new coaching blood brought into the NFC West and it’s clear this is the right decision.

  73. badintent says: Dec 31, 2012 8:08 PM

    The team is owned by the Bidwells. End of story.

  74. melikefootball says: Dec 31, 2012 8:53 PM

    To bad for whiz he had no support from owners.

  75. azr8rsfan says: Dec 31, 2012 9:57 PM

    Whiz’ firing only reinforces how desperate the dead birds were to overpay for corncob to keep the faux super bowl dreams alive.

    Back to where they belong…forever cursed. The worst NFLTeam of all time based on win/loss ratio. The debacle in the desert continues.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!