It seems that the Cardinals liked some of the things that Whisenhunt brought to the table as their head coach. After all, they hired a coach very similar to him in Bruce Arians on Thursday. Ron Wolfley, a former player and now broadcaster for the Cardinals, claims that Arians is a guy that loves his players, but isn't afraid to let loose on them or throw them in the dog house if necessary. Sound familiar?
But just because they share a Steelers background (Arians was the guy who replaced Whiz as the Steelers' OC when he came to Arizona), that does not mean they have the same style of running an offense. Much like Whisenhunt did in his early days, Arians stated that he will be the one calling the plays, not an offensive coordinator.
Still, look for some key differences to be installed in this offense. I see Arians as a guy that works closer with his quarterbacks than Whisenhunt ever did, which is something the Cardinals sorely need. They need that coach that is able to be patient with the QBs and foster them. Kevin Kolb could highly benefit from Arians' tutelage.
One thing that I found interesting in what Arians told Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic is that he plans to incorporate the screen game in more. "I like new ideas. Randy Fichtner came in from the University of Memphis and he had all these college screens. I just couldn't wait to put all that stuff in."
Over the past few seasons under Whisenhunt, Cardinals fans may have forgotten what a good screen play looks like, despite have great personnel (such as LaRod Stephens-Howling) that can run such a play.
Arians mentioned in Somers' piece that he and Ben Roethlisberger managed to take a giant clutter of a playbook, scrap it and reinvent their own.
"When Kenny and the guys came out here (Arizona), Ben (Roethlisberger) and I got together and we rewrote the playbook and put it back into Cleveland terms.
"I thought it was the simplest way to teach young wide receivers and quarterbacks pictures of how to line up. When a quarterback calls a play, he's got to see a picture. To help him rewrite that, with Ben, rename some patterns to where they made sense to him. I think that's the quarterback-coach trust relationship that has to be developed. As a head coach or an offensive coordinator, you're tied to that guy. Your future is him."
In that way, they built something that worked not only for the team, but for the quarterback as well. I would expect Arians to do something similar in helping Kevin Kolb here in the desert.
Another thing that I am going to simply draw from in my time watching both coordinators is that Whisenhunt liked to incorporate a lot of deep drops for his quarterbacks to throw, even if the offensive line was in shambles. 5-7 step drops might not be as heavily featured in Arians' offense simply because he knows the quarterbacks he is working with.
Will Arians decide to draft more offensive lineman so as to bolster the run game? That remains to be seen. I would suspect that he will, though.
Whatever the case, just know that although this hire may be very similar to the one the Cardinals made back in 2007, it is in no way identical.