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


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.

75 responses to “Cardinals fire G.M. Rod Graves, coach Ken Whisenhunt

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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


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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. banky74,

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


    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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. “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….

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

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