Demand increases for Whisenhunt

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With five NFL coaching jobs open, one name continues to emerge on the various wish lists:  San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

At a minimum, the Lions, Redskins, and Titans are interested in talking to Whisenhunt.

He’s now available to interview, with the blessing of the Chargers.  But the Chargers have a game coming up on Sunday at Denver, and there are only so many hours that Whisenhunt can spare from his current job.  At some point, the Chargers surely will say, “Enough.”

The former Cardinals coach, who led the team to a Super Bowl in 2008, remains regarded as the favorite to become the next coach of the Lions, the only team with a franchise quarterback in place.  And that’s a good thing for Whisenhunt, given that his most success in Arizona came with the franchise quarterback he inherited from the prior regime.

Of course, Whisenhunt first had to realize that Kurt Warner would be a better option than Matt Leinart, a first-round pick the year before Whisenhunt was hired.  Once Whisenhunt did, the foundation was in place for the Cardinals to have a couple of solid seasons.

In Detroit, Whisenhunt would be working with a 25-year-old franchise quarterback who has five years of experience.  But Matthew Stafford seems to be a reluctant franchise quarterback, unwilling to fully embrace the commitment to mechanics and film study and leadership and doing everything he can do and then some to help his team win.  Someone needs to get the most out of Stafford.

For now, the Lions may be willing to entrust that task to the man who worked directly with another franchise quarterback who needed some time and some coaxing to develop into a franchise quarterback — Ben Roethlisberger.  Others may want him, too, but not every team that wants to interview Whisenhunt will get a crack at him in the next six days.

If he only interviews with one or two teams, we may know plenty about where Whisenhunt is leaning.

61 responses to “Demand increases for Whisenhunt

  1. So let me get this straight… Whisenhunt is a genius because he started Warner over obvious failure Leinart, but he gets no blame for also choosing Derek Anderson, and developing John Skelton, Max Hall, and Ryan Lindley? Convenient for him.

  2. Matthew Stafford is not a franchise QB. He is still making rookie mistakes, and his numbers are inflated from playing in a pass heavy offense that features the best WR in the NFL in Calvin Johnson. To top it off, Stafford has an injury history.

    I would not feel confident at all paying Stafford 100+ million to be my franchise QB and this needs to be taken into consideration by any incoming head coach.

  3. What a stupid article. If stafford had a competent offensive coordinator and head coach I be the would work his ass off to be successful and get that team to the playoffs. Hell, with Wisenhunt, Bush and Megatron it’s a crime to miss the playoffs.

  4. WOW first of all ease up on calling stafford a franchise
    qb. He is a coach killer. Though Wisenhunt is a logical choice for detroit im not sure he takes it.

  5. Come on man , Josh McDaniels for the Skins! What’s he going to do, screw up their draft choices or something? Oh, they don’t have any. RG I+I+I will love him. Good for everyone. The entire league will love him too, you just wait and see.

  6. Stafford’s mechanic are fine. Mechanics mean more to a pitcher trying to get the most out of 100 pitches, not to a quarter back who’s quick release rivals Peyton Manning and has thrown for 4500 yards each of the last three years. It sounds smart to say mechanics when you don’t know. I’ve never heard that Stafford wasn’t committed to film study. That just sounds made up. Last off season Stafford stayed in Detroit to work at the facility. To question his commitment is being misinformed.

  7. “the man who worked directly with another franchise quarterback who needed some time and some coaxing to develop into a franchise quarterback — Ben Roethlisberger.”


    Big Ben as a rookie was the only QB ever to win his first 14 straight games, and one of only 4 rookies to lead his team to the Conference title game. He was pretty darned good right out of the gate, with or without any “coaxing” from Wiz.

    I think it would be more apt to say that Wiz and Big Ben made a pretty good combo.

  8. He’s going to have plenty of time to interview after about 6 pm mountain time Sunday night.

  9. Stafford was a victim of a lot of balls bouncing off hands. But he did have a tendency to trust tendency. It had very little to do with not being coached up or not being committed. CJ being injured all year. Pettigrew not being as reliable and injured the last couples games. Nate Burleson being injured after a hot start. Broyles being injured after not fully recovered from surgery. The Lions need a strength and conditioning coach more than someone to fix Stafford.

  10. Look what he did with Rivers this year. He does well when he has a QB, but not so much when he needs to develop one. Lions seem like an ideal fit.

  11. How do you KNOW Stafford is not committed to film study? I will agree that his mechanics need work, but that doesn’t mean that he is Jamarcus Russell not even looking at the game film DVD. HUGE assumption that could be totally wrong. Whisenhunt fixed Rivers this year, and I am betting he can do it with Stafford too.

    Don’t question someone’s work ethic until you hear evidence to the contrary, and I have NEVER heard “lazy” said about Stafford.

  12. Stafford is erratic and Calvin Johnson, while still an absolute force, is starting to show his age.

    Let’s also not forget that the Cards had a defense, which the Lions do not.

    I understand the excitement, but I couldn’t count my chickens.

  13. Stafford needs to be reigned in. Or something. The whole team, perhaps.

    The talent on the Lions is striking. Has to be the most talented bunch on paper who have done not a thing.

    I played in the college world series one year and the next three (with a different coach and more talented teams) …not. Yeah. NOT.

    Coaching is WAY underrated. I’ll take the coaching over the talent because that WAS my freshman year.

    Look at Belichick. I rest my case. He blows as a GM and yet.

    Don Zimmer. Yeah, helmet head. Wait….Mike Zimmer. If you can fight Pedro Martinez, I mean make Vontaze Perfect be close to the D Player of the Year, you are doing something right.

    It’s not his fault Dalton can’t make all the NFL throws. Not Gruden Jr’s fault either…

  14. whisenhut can probably go where he wants: det or minn in nfc north, wash in nfc east, cleve in afc north or tenn in nfc south. he probably has the pick of the team litter so to speak.

    so he has to weigh 5 factors to make a decision:

    1. good owner
    2. good qb
    3. roster including receivers and defense
    4. major market/media coverage
    5. divisional competition

  15. .
    “At a minimum the Lions, Redskins, and Titans are all interested in talking to Wisenhut”

    Like Wisenhut. I too have 3 teams interested in talking to me, the FBI, the IRS, and DOJ.

    The only difference is I have a higher probability of success.


  16. If Lions were competent they would be there to interview him instead of making him arrange to travel to Detroit. They will miss out on the 3rd candidate on their list.

  17. I feel like there should be a rule in place that prevents current nfl coaches that are active in the playoffs from interviewing. This is the most important time of the year and the coaches should only be concerned with advancing their current team, not preparing for interviews. It seems to have gotten more out of control with every year that passes.

  18. Hasn’t even been with the chargers for a year and already gonna leave. This is truly a business to these guys. I hate that about the game. What SD is doing in just one year is amaIng what we could do if Whiz would stay for at least 2-3 years would be possible terms of legit power house and constant power in the AFC . Coaches don’t care. Sucks as a fan to see such a great foundation built then get ripped up so quick.

  19. Whisenhunt is THE MAN!!

    Remember, he wasn’t handed Kurt Warner. He was handed Matt Leinart. At the time, folks thought Warner was a used up has been. Starting Warner over Leinart was career suicide.

  20. Also ease up on calling Stafford a coach killer. Schwartz got fired because he didn’t make the playoffs; in addition to Stafford’s mistakes, the Lions didn’t make the playoffs because:
    a) the pass defense was bad and the pass rush often disappeared; b) the two best receivers were often hurt, both completely or almost completely missing all of the last 2 games; c) the #1 running back fumbled in crucial situations a lot; d) when the snow stopped in the 2nd half, the footing made the defense a car wreck against the Eagles; e) Calvin handed a perfectly-thrown ball to a Buc DB and dropped well-thrown balls against the Ravens; f) the officials continued a multi-season crusade against the team & its coach, and g) a guy is just accurate enough on a 61 yard field goal attempt. All in all, the perfect storm doesn’t make any one element the key. It’s like Murder on the Orient Express, they all did it.

  21. Please, let anyone of these teams sign him because simply because they are teams I do not root for.

    Silly folks always talk about how he supposedly led the Cards to the Super Bowl due to his genius. These teams need to ask where was Whisenhunt’s “genius” after Kurt Warner left (remember he was leaning to select Leinart as the starter over Warner until Lenart melted down in the last pre-season game) and he chose Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton, Lindley, St Pierre, gave up on Brian Hoyer, and then personally selected and had the Cards trade for and overpay Kevin Kolb while declaring Anquan Boldin to be washed up and no longer not good enough for the Cards. And remember, Whisenhunt is the guy who told Warner he’d better be a man and continue to take hits and chance concussions due to the porous offensive line Whisenhunt said was just fine. Remember, this is the guy who replaced Skelton with a lead to insert a rookie who then lost the game and then left the rookie in to lose a winnable close game, just to prove he was in charge and their boss.

    Yep, Whisenhunt would be the perfect coach for the Lions, Redskins, Titans, Vikings, and Browns (Hoyer is on the IR list). Selecting him to fill one of the vacancies would make it easier for the Packers, Bears, Giants, Steelers, Colts, Texans, or Ravens.

    I can’t wait for one of these loser teams to hire Whisenhunt to ensure the continuation of their losing tradition.

  22. Fact 1 – ARIZ got worse the longer he stayed.

    Fact 2 – Ken is a decent manager of what ‘exists’, but not a builder, nor reloader. He may give the Lions a ‘short term’ boost, but not long term.

    Fact 3 – He may be the best remaining. My hope would be that he moves Linehan out.

    Fact 4 – Someone needs to help Stafford get back to fundamentals and keep his brains from falling out. Also important is helping him realize all his receivers are not 6-8 and to develop some accuracy. He’s still better than most QBs and of the Tony Romo sort.

  23. I would love to see Wisenhunt get the gig in Detriot. I would also love to see what Kellem Moore could do in the NFL. Not saying he is a starter, but he is a proven winner with a great work ethic.

  24. Lions fans, he is not good enough. You have Super Bowl quality talent that needs a course correction on team first discipline. You can afford to hire a Super Bowl caliber coach, not a maybe (and he is not even a maybe). Open the check book. Get Coughlin out’ve New York. win now!

  25. A good OC when surrounded with talent (Roethlisberger, Warner & Rivers etc). Not sold on him at all as a head coach or talent evaluator though…. Cardinals offense was a mess when he left town!

  26. It’s pretty amazing how so many in the media have completely written off RG3? So one year after arguably the best rookie season by a QB in NFL history, he’s no longer a franchise QB?

    Maybe it will turn out we saw the best we’re going to see of him, but to just dismiss him out of hand just as another trash heap QB is equally foolish. Let’s see what he can do next year with a full offseason and no knee brace.

  27. While I agree Stafford doesn’t deserve the “franchise QB” label, the real question is this….. who would you rather work for? Snyder of the Fords?

  28. Whisenhunt was an excellent coach here in Arizona. Problem was he had Rod “the slug” Graves as his GM.

  29. Make it SIX head coaches! FIRE JOE PHILBIN! FIRE JEFF IRELAND! HIRE KEN WHISENHUNT! The DON’T PHINS firing Sherman is like a Band Aid at a train wreck!

  30. @footballpupil good observation but not only did whisenhunt get to a super bowl with the cardinals, but bill cowher gives him lot of credit for the steelers win in 2005. whisenhunt had to persuade cowher to not play so conservatively in the playoffs and go for the win rather than play not to lose

  31. Stafford is a lot of things but franchise QB isn’t one of them. I would think that would have to be earned on the field and he hasn’t done that yet.

    But when your team is best known for its 0-16 season, I can understand why the Kittens think Stafford is something special.

  32. RG3 isnt the franchise in D.C.? Rightttttttt. The Rams dont have their top five pick they got from Washington just for Washington to kick the kid to the road. Washington has no talent on offense around RG3. Top say he isnt the franchise is insane.

  33. “So let me get this straight… Whisenhunt is a genius because he started Warner over obvious failure Leinart, but he gets no blame for also choosing Derek Anderson, and developing John Skelton, Max Hall, and Ryan Lindley? Convenient for him.”

    1 – He had no personnel authority, so he did what he could with what he had.

    2 – By the time he started Warner, Warner was thought to be washed up. He wasn’t good in NY in 04. He signed as a backup in AZ in 05. In 05 and 06 he was benched for Josh McCown and Leinart respectively. He was already 30 when he won the MVP in 01, so everyone figured he was washed up by 07.

  34. azjam, while Rod was GM, it was Whisenhunt that got control of that roster right around the same time the team went downhill fast. It was Keim that wanted Russell Wilson and it was Whiz that vetoed the pick. He may have some initial success in Detroit with a team loaded with talent, but as time goes on, Detroit better hope there is a strong GM in place to put Whiz in his.

  35. It’s Frank Reich, the Charger’s QB coach that has turned Rivers around, not Wisenhunt. The real question is, if Wisenhunt leaves, does he take Reich with him, or does McCoy fight to keep Reich in San Diego?

  36. Lets go over all the QB’s Ken Whisenhunt has developed:

    1. Ben Roethlisberger
    2. John Skelton
    3. Matt Leinart
    4. Kevin Kolb
    5. Max Hall
    6. Ryan Lindley
    7. Brian Hoyer
    8. Derek Anderson

    One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just isn’t the same. Seriously, Whisenhunt failed to develop a single QB outside of Ben. Maybe… just MAYBE… Ben is just a superior QB that didn’t need quite as much coaching.

  37. When a HC (Whisenhunt) plays mind and control games with his players (QBs, Dockett, running backs, linemen, LBs, DBs, punter, kicker, safeties (ask A-Dub) and receivers) instead trying to win games that are winnable, what players, fans, GMs, or owners want a guy like that?
    That is why he lost his AZ teams.

  38. nzaz—my memory, though faulty more than I wish, says it used to be no interviews until after the team is eliminated from playoffs. (or maybe if his team had a bye week it was ok)

    Someone mentioned Frank Reich. It then occurred to me he would be the man for Detroit. Their off field junk and unacceptable on field behavior would end, like right now, or they would no longer be on team.

  39. Why does it always have to be a re-tread used and abused NFL good ole boy…Chip Kelly hasn’t done bad in his first year, why not inject some new blood, fresh ideas and schemes, some guy who Wants the job to try and make a difference in place of West Coast offense, Tampa two defense, get a lead and go into prevent D, two TE sets, remember when they came up with the Shotgun? Is there nothing new under the football sun?…just saying…

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