MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 7: Head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals works on the sidelines in the game with the Minnesota Vikings at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 7 2010 in Minneapolis Minnesota. The Vikings won 27-24. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Following all of the anger after the Cardinals choked away a 14 point 4th Quarter lead against the Vikings, some people around here want to see some heads roll. And a couple of those heads belong to some of the people on the Coaching Staff.
Billy Davis is the main person who is being attacked right now. His defense gave up over 200 passing yards by Brett Favre in the 4th Quarter and Overtime alone, and it seemed like they became too predictable at the end of the game after shutting down the Vikings for most of the game. Kerry Rhodes and Rashad Johnson both picked off Favre, Joey Porter and Darnell Dockett were in Favre's face all day long, but at the end of the game the defense fell apart. You just need to look at some of the late plays, like one on 1st and 20 where Favre found Bernard Berrian who beat Greg Toler (although Will Davis might have blown an assignment since it looked like he was in coverage on that play too and he was near where Berrian was) for a 22 yard gain that set up the game winning kick in Overtime. Now, his defense has struggled mightily in some of the games, but it also seems like they are gassed from being on the field too long because the offense can't maintain a drive. Minnesota had the ball for 37 minutes, and 4 or 5 of those came from their drive in Overtime, there was just a massive disparity in the Time of Possession and it seemed like the Defense just could not keep up anymore after the Vikings went to a no huddle offense. The Defense has also been criticized for collapsing late in games, mainly the ones on our three game losing streak where they actually played well for most of the game.
A lot of people here want Davis fired, but there isn't really anyone better out there right now. I guess you could bring up Wade Phillips, but I watched the last three Cowboys games where their defense was incredibly predictable, and they gave up over 35 points in each of their last three games. The Cowboys talent level on Defense is also comparable to some of the talented players we have in Arizona. If you do fire Davis though, it will have to be after the season is over because you just can't force the Defense to learn a whole new scheme this year.
There is also a lot of criticism directed at Hall of Famer Russ Grimm. He was a great lineman during his career in the NFL, and he is talked about as being one of the best O-Line coaches in the NFL, and before the season began there was a lot of hype about this O-Line. Hype about how there was more talent on this Line than there was on any of the other teams that Coach Whiz and Grimm worked with, but we have not seen a lot of progress and it seems like having a Quarterback like Kurt Warner made the entire line look better than they actually are. During the Preseason, Matt Leinart had someone in his face as soon as he got the snap, Derek Anderson has been sacked more this year than he was all of his horrendous 2009 season with the Browns and he was sacked six times by Minnesota (although about four of them came at the end of the 4th Quarter, and the 3 and out drive in Overtime), in fact the 16 sacks that he has gone through this year over the 8 games that he has played in are a career high for him. Even during his Pro Bowl Season in 2007 when he threw 527 passes, he was only sacked 14 times. Max Hall has also been pounded during his time as a starter.
Looking at the O-Line, Lyle Sendlein and Deuce Lutui have been the most consistent, Levi Brown has struggled, Brandon Keith has also struggled but it seems like he has improved, and Alan Faneca is what he was advertised to be (Good run blocker, mediocre pass blocker). The line is built as more of a run blocking unit, so it isn't a surprise that they haven't been great at pass blocking, but they are even having issues getting the ground game going. Even when they had the lead, the Cardinals could get nothing going on the ground, and as a whole they have been incredibly inconsistent. Grimm has to be held more accountable.
And now we head to Coach Ken Whisenhunt. I know there are a couple of people here who want him fired, and I highly disagree with those suggestions. Although he benefited from a Hall of Fame Quarterback falling into his lap (one that Denny Green couldn't have success with though...), he has still changed the culture for for team, and he brought a winning mentality from Pittsburgh. Now, even the best of coaches have down years, but people are frustrated with Whisenhunt for some of the decisions he has made this year, most notably cutting Matt Leinart and not making a bigger play to go for a big name Free Agent Quarterback like Donovan McNabb, or even someone like Marc Bulger. His playcalling has also been criticized, and people have stated that it is like he doesn't realize that Kurt Warner isn't the Quarterback this year, the Quarterback is a guy who had one of the worst seasons by an NFL Quarterback in the last decade in 2009 with the Browns. I'm talking Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell levels of bad. I do think that Whisenhunt should hand the playcalling duties to someone else, the success in the 2008 Super Bowl Season was with Todd Haley (who is now in Kansas City where the Chiefs are surprisingly 5-3 right now and playing good football) not Whisenhunt calling the plays, and it seems like he gets overwhelmed at times trying to be the Head Coach and the Offensive Coordinator at the same time (you could say the same thing about Wade Phillips in Dallas). I think that next year, there should be a new Offensive Coordinator, but Whiz has earned my trust, and even though he has made some mistakes this year I will still believe in him until he does something to take that trust away (and yes, one losing season will not be enough to do that, you don't fire a coach if they have ONE bad year).
So, what do you guys think? What coaching changes (if any) should be made after the season ends? Right now, I'm still okay with everyone here, but Billy Davis is on the hot seat.