Titans fire Whisenhunt


He started the 2012 season 4-0 with the Cardinals. He has since gone 4-31 in Arizona (1-11) and Tennessee (3-20). And Ken Whisenhunt is no longer the coach of the Titans.

“After thoughtful consideration, the decision has been made to relieve Ken Whisenhunt of his head coaching duties,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a release. “We have expected more progress on the field, and I felt it was time to move in a different direction. I would like to thank Ken for his efforts with our team, as he worked very hard to try to move us forward.”

Despite the team’s futility under Whisenhunt, no one saw this one coming — possibly because the Titans have been mostly competitive despite losing so many games in year, and possibly because the franchise continues to be nationally irrelevant.

Mike Mularkey, previously the head coach of the Bills and Jaguars and most recently the assistant head coach/tight ends in Tennessee, takes over for Whisenhunt. The move comes not during a bye week but as the Titans prepare for a trip to New Orleans to take on the 4-4 Saints, winners of three in a row.

In both of Whisenhunt’s seasons with the Titans, the team won its first game of the season before embarking on lengthy losing streaks. From 2-0 in the opening game to 1-20 in all others, the Titans opted to make a move at a time when no one saw such a move coming.

For Whisenhunt, the termination continues a stunning regression. He took the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl appearance in 2008 and he lasted with the team for six years, matching Jim Hanifan as the longest-tenured coaches in club history.

In 2013, Whisenhunt produced solid reviews for his work as offensive coordinator with the Chargers, and his sudden availability could prompt a contending to consider adding him as an offensive consultant for the stretch run.

103 responses to “Titans fire Whisenhunt

  1. 3-20 and fired still gets him 15 million…. When I got fired I got a ham sandwich and I brought that to work with me. Go Titans!

  2. Calling Tennessee… Jim Caldwell on Line 1… said EVERY LIONS FAN.

    Why can’t the Fords do something inspiring like the Titans Front Office?

  3. When your division leader has a record of 3-5, and your team is in last place – I get the termination

  4. He’ll get an OC gig next season.

    No shame in this. Tons of amazing coordinators out there who just aren’t meant to be head coaches.

  5. All real success Whisenhunt had at Arizona was due to the Kurt Warner.

    Even though Whisenhunt has always claimed full credit and deminished Warner’s role in the Cards success, once Warner was gone, Whisenhunt’s house of Cards collapsed as proven by his records.

    Whisenhunt knew his success as a HC was due to Warner, hence his despiration and musical chairs in the QB fiascos that followed him wherever he went.

  6. Hey Gruden, do you want to coach a potential franchise quarterback on a young up and coming team in a crappy division? Come out and coach one more time

  7. Whisenhunt may not have been the answer in TN but he wasn’t exactly the problem either, he is who he is. Looking at you Webster

  8. As a Jags fan – it is amazing to see how many coaches have gottten fired while we still preach “patience” , “young guys”, “learning how to win”, “what a terrible roster Caldwell and Gus had to remake”….

    It will be very interesting to see if Jags can turn it around over 2nd half or are we just digging a deeper hole.

    That being said – so many bad teamd with injuries left on the schedule that you never know.

    Gus Bradley is 9-30 since he took over.

  9. Whisenhunt was always a solid offensive coach – perhaps not an elite head coach, but was starting to put the pieces together. I was looking forward to see how he would bring Mariota along.

    But firing Whisenhunt at this stage is just a sign of bad ownership. They had a solid HC in Mike Munchak and ran him out of town. They have a potential franchise QB if they develop him correctly, and they fire the one head coach who knows how to get that done. It pretty clear that Bud Adams’ kids don’t know what they’re doing

  10. Mike: Wait…What??

    “Despite the team’s futility under Whisenhunt, no one saw this one coming”

    I have been calling this for 4 weeks. I realize no one cares what i say but you can’t think this is a surprise. Someone else had to be thinking this.

  11. All I’d ever heard was great things about this guy “as a person,” but I couldn’t believe how increasingly arrogant he came off during adversity in his press conferences.

    And yes, based on his track record, Whiz may be an elite offensive coordinator (per the Pittsburgh and Chargers years), but the minute you put head coaching responsibilities on his plate, his focus on creating game plans, play-calling and clock management during games went from superior to total disaster show.

  12. I’m sorry but Ken was not the one go select the players on this team, nor was he the one to sign players in FA.
    I never understand why coaches are the first to go over GMs. Coaches can set teams back one season while GMS can set them back years and years.

  13. Not that he was a good HC…but alot of it depends on the team/job you get.

    Let’s face it – who is going to turn down the chance to be a HC…with the guaranteed big $$ that goes with it?

    Tenn was a horrible situation – but if you get the chance you have to take it.

    He’ll be an OC for another 10 years in the league.

  14. I totally agree with the move, but the only downside to it is that from what I understand, Dick LeBeau was friends with Whisenhunt. I’m sure he won’t have much motivation to stick around for the Tennessee Titans’ rebuild anymore.

  15. Kind of amazing how bad this guy turned out to be. Just goes to show you how many variables are in play for an NFL team. Kind of unbelievable he coached in a Super Bowl.

  16. No surprise. Whisenpunt is known for his notorious head-scratching play-calling at key moments in the game and cannot develop young QB’s. Never ever accepts responsibility for his team’s record, rubs some players the wrong way and always blames the players and forces them to adapt to his system, rather than trying to build the system around the players’ strengths. He always plays not to lose rather than win, and for the 2nd straight time, he has a competent defense (158 PA), only to fail with HIS offense, because he seems to think that you can win with any set of stiffs on the O-line. The same thing happened in AZ with that never-ending QB carousel post-Warner.

    Tennessee, be glad that you got rid of the man that took Levi “Hold Em” Brown over Adrian Peterson! You guts got a good D & a promising young QB, good luck the rest of the way!

  17. Free at last, free at last. Thank god almighty us Titans fans are free at last.

    Arizona fans did show up on various forums trying to warn us back in 2014. They were right if we only knew then.

    In 2011 the Titans were 9-7. In 2013 they were a 2 point and 3 point loss from 9-7 again and all they needed was a franchise QB and a few players at certain positions to compete.

    So he took a team that was close to getting over the hump and pretty much ran them straight into the ground.

    The GM Ruston Webster has missed out on many second round draft picks those are supposed to be your starters. Webster is awful and just as much to blame for the lack of talent on the field.

  18. Not really his fault, worst roster in the league. Have drafted horribly for the past 10 years.

    LeBeau is the only thing keeping them in games.

  19. ok gruden u have a chance too coach a possible future nfl star franchise qb or u can stay in the booth with mike torico lol
    mariota or that guy
    id take the mariota gig

  20. Bring back the jingle… “Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers number one…”

  21. Absolutely a terrible HC… Cannot lead men.. He went to the SuperBowl with Dennis Greens talent…Those that know him will tell you he talks a good story but there is a real disconnect because players don’t trust the guy..

    He will get another gig 4-5 years down the road much like Turner… Teams fall in love with the O production of a team failing to realize it’s the QB and talent around him…

    Whuz cannot evaluate talent… Period!!
    Whuz cannot motivate men
    Whuz is very vanilla
    Whuz was yesterday!!!

  22. shoulda never s**tcanned munchak.

    whisenhut is nothing if not for kurt warner during his AZ tenure.

    I remember when the league was all giddy on whether a team should take ex-steelers whisenhut or russ grimm as its HC ? how wrong the herd mentality is.

  23. This franchise will always be a train wreck until everything related to Bud Adams and his descendants are gone. They just need to give it up and sell the team to a real ownership group.

  24. Nothing about him has said “I am a head coach” to me.
    He’s a Norv Turner or Wade Philips…

  25. Good news for the Titans no matter how I look at it. Wiz plain sucks as the HC. Always has. Always will. Some folks are strictly “C” material be it Offensive or Defensive. He’s one of those.

    Looking across the horizon at the flotsam & jetsam that make up about half the teams in the league, seems to me a “plug-&-play” role might be offered to Wiz to stop some team’s bleeding while they kick-the-tires to test his true acumen. San Fran is a mess and needs immediate help; the Colts might be ready for a ‘Pep talk’ (and release) or maybe Detroit will roll dice to salvage 2 or 3 wins yet with him on as a flier.

    If nothing else, the Titans at least get out from under the suffocating indecision this guy is known for along with his hubris, blame-the-players attitude and bungling clock mis-managemnet. He really OUGHT to learn how to make fritters because he has shown too well how to fritter away every opportunity in the big chair.

  26. He could have had the Detroit job, and they wouldn’t have fired him. Wisenhunt made a mistake taking Tennessee’s mess. The Ford family has lots of patience and would have given him plenty of rope. Yes, the Lions are a mess also, but ownership doesn’t make rash decisions here.

  27. tonyzendejas says:
    Nov 3, 2015 9:53 AM
    Probably wishes he had taken the Lions job…oh wait, no. Probably not that either.

    yea but he would still have the job, Lions front office doesn’t have the balls to fire their under performing coach the the titans do.

  28. Unfortunate for him, but not at all surprising. He’ll get an assistant’s job somewhere, but he’s likely done as a head coach.

  29. I wish they had installed Dick LeBeau as the interim coach just because it would be funny if both guys the Steelers let go as old & ready to retire ended up as head coaches.

  30. I just remember Ken saying he turned down the Raiders job, when Al never was going to offer him one. He left that interview schooled by Al, and his x’s and o’s.

  31. Please, Detroit, give him a call.

    The Whis as co-offensive coordinator with Jim Bob. Oh, what fun that could be……

  32. Franchise quarterbacks = great coaches. Marginal quarterbacks = bad coaches. It’s that simple. Ever notice the best coaches have the best quarterbacks? Not rocket science

  33. He only lasted this long because he was in Tennessee….the franchise continues to be nationally irrelevant…well that about says it all.

  34. Good defense and trying to develop two teenage QB’s and the guy still loses his job? Amy Adams or Bud Adams, the silliness keeps on coming!

  35. artworkworld says:
    Nov 3, 2015 10:45 AM
    I wish they had installed Dick LeBeau as the interim coach just because it would be funny if both guys the Steelers let go as old & ready to retire ended up as head coaches.

    wrong guy. That was Arians not Whis. and Whis got fired 2x so i think it says the steelers had a better idea of him as an HC than TN or AZ.

  36. Five worst coaches to reach a Super Bowl

    5. John Fox
    4. Jim Fassel
    3. Bill Callahan
    2. Jim Caldwell
    1. Ken (Whisenpunt) Whisenhunt

    In all of these cases, they had a proven veteran quarterback who reached the big game in spite of, not because of the head coach.

  37. It was a huge mistake for Whisenhunt to turn down the Lions. He could have done the same thing for 5 more years before getting fired.

  38. He did not get “Fired.” That is an inconsiderate and non-pc term. Better stated, Mr. Whisenhunt was part of a “Workforce Reduction Program” to allow the Titans organization to be better positioned in the market.

  39. He could have had the Detroit job, and they wouldn’t have fired him. Wisenhunt made a mistake taking Tennessee’s mess. The Ford family has lots of patience and would have given him plenty of rope. Yes, the Lions are a mess also, but ownership doesn’t make rash decisions here.
    the ownership doesn’t make good decisions, either

  40. Todd Haley’s breakfast just came up in the back of his throat. Whiz was/is a great OC. Injuries be damned… Haley doesn’t know what to do with what he has. Time to give the keys to someone else who knows the franchise and has had success with Ben before. Won’t happen, but needs to be considered.

  41. noteamforlosangeles says:
    Nov 3, 2015 11:28 AM

    Five worst coaches to reach a Super Bowl

    5. John Fox
    4. Jim Fassel
    3. Bill Callahan
    2. Jim Caldwell
    1. Ken (Whisenpunt) Whisenhunt

    In all of these cases, they had a proven veteran quarterback who reached the big game in spite of, not because of the head coach.

    don’t forget tony dungee (peyton manning and a rule change)

  42. “Whiz” (Whisenhunt) was just a mess. Couldn’t make Mariota a pure pocket-passer like Kurt Warner; didn’t make the right calls on the offensive sides of things, putting Jeremiah Poutasi in the starting position on the right-side of Mariota, which resulted in endless sacks; didn’t put in other personnel in place of Wreh-Wilson and Sensabaugh (CBs) who got continually burned on big pass plays (remember Manziel-to-Benjamin in Cleveland lol); and just a host of other things, like putting Jason Michael in as OC who never took advantage of the edges in his running plays with Sankey & Co. — just goes on and on. Good for Whiz who was more effective as OC in San Diego than he’s been as head coach. His success in AZ was only because of Kurt Warner. Hey, Whiz: Vikings OC Norv Turner (former HC/Chargers) is doing pretty good, so keep your head up.

  43. There are several power 5 CFB HC jobs open already, and Wiz would be a perfect fit in almost every one of them. USC, South Carolina, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska (when it opens up) and Miami would all be excellent landing spots for him…all of which would back up the truck for him if he showed any interest at all. Wiz will land on his feet and be just fine, I just don’t see it happening in the NFL.

  44. If Titans management didn’t do this because they have a stellar plan in the works, then this looks pretty stupid.

    It’s the bad teams that overreact and don’t let personnel have time to develop chemistry.

    Maybe there was a critical issue here we don’t know about. But it’s going to take a heck of a next act to make fans think this was a sound decision.

  45. Methinks the Titans expectations are too high with a rookie QB at the helm…..good luck finding a quality replacement, you gave him less than 2 yrs to turn a terrible team around smh good luck titan fans…..

  46. I feel bad for anyone who loses their job, even if deservedly so. But the sheer fact that the news came from the direct source tickles me to death.

    No mysterious unnamed source. No unnamed person with insider information. No reporter jockeying for recognition. News like it was meant to be given.

    Man I’m getting too old for this.

  47. To overpraise him by hanging your hat on what he did in 2008-2010 is why the hire was a bad idea.

    That’s why I used to refer to him as “Ken Wastenhunt” with no problem.

    How was he worthy of a job when Bruce Arians made Drew Stanton look competent with Larry Fitzgerald with the same and even younger defensive talent in Arizona?

    Also, what does this say about Detroit?

    They considered him over Jim Caldwell before he took Tennessee’s money.

  48. So, they replaced one formerly good Steelers OC, who was ok as a HC, with another formerly good Steelers OC, who was less than ok as a HC?

  49. Whisenhunt has got to be one of the most mediocre coaches to ever “guide” his team a Super Bowl appearance. He’s should have never been given the Tennessee job to begin with. Get someone in there with some creativity.

  50. Hey Seattle, it’s the bye week. Fire Bevell and pick up Wisenhunt as OC. Really, just fire Bevell and hire anybody. I don’t even care who at this point. Just get rid of Bevell.

  51. don’t forget tony dungee (peyton manning and a rule change)

    Lovie Smith gets honorable mention on that list…He only gets a pass from the worst five because he had Rex Grossman as his quarterback.

  52. As a Cardinals fan who suffered from Kenny fatigue from 2010-2012, I would like to say to Titans fans that I feel your pain. Nobody does a long losing streak as well as Kenny.

    On the plus side, barring total idiocy on the part of another team’s ownership/management, Kenny is not likely to ever grace a sideline as an NFL head coach again. Not even Rich Kotite got a third chance.

  53. Arizona fans did show up on various forums trying to warn us back in 2014. They were right if we only knew then.
    That was me, or at least one of them was me. I created a TitansOnline account last year to try to cheer you guys up while watching Kenny do what Kenny does. Couldn’t find it this year, or it moved somewhere I couldn’t find. You are all in a better place now.

    Another poster absolutely nailed it. Kenny is very Chip Kelly-like, he insists he is a genius who knows everything and that his “system” works with anybody, and has zero interest in adapting the plan to meet the personnel.

  54. Ok, so is Chip Kelly going to lose out for the rest of this season (in hopes to get fired)? Or is a whopper-with-cheese of a trade going to occur that involves Mariota being shipped to Philly? I mean, we do only live once ppl. It would be quite the “sight to see” to be able to watch Chip & Mariota on the same team in the NFL. More skeptical things have happened in pro sports…

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