When the Arizona Cardinals hired Ken Whisenhunt in January 2007, they did so primarily because of the work he had done as the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator, especially in the development of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Seven quarterbacks have started for the Cardinals since Whisenhunt’s tenure began in the Valley six years ago. And save for a two-year stretch where former MVP Kurt Warner led the team to their lone Super Bowl appearance and two division titles in 2008 and 2009, Whisenhunt’s carousel of quarterbacks has been a major part of the problem, not the solution in recent years.
This season, Whisenhunt has started three different players under center — John Skelton, Kevin Kolb and Ryan Lindley — and while injuries have played a role in the team’s quarterback shuffle, ESPN analyst Cris Carter said it primarily has to do with the coach’s gross mismanagement of the position.
“They’ve had bad quarterback play outside of Kurt Warner, since [Whisenhunt] has been there,” Carter said Monday. “He’s supposed to be an offensive coach and responsible for that position. So, I don’t think it’s funny at all.”
From Derek Anderson to Max Hall and on down through Lindley, the Cardinals have quickly returned to one of the NFL’s proverbial punch lines based solely on their atrocious play at the league’s prime position. And after Sunday’s 58-0 shellacking in Seattle, Carter thinks Whisenhunt’s inability to coach up his quarterbacks ultimately cost him his job.
“Where I believe that Ken Whisenhunt [has gone wrong] is in his inability to find a quarterback in Arizona,” said Carter. “I believe it’s going to cost him his job.”
If Whisenhunt is to be fired in the coming weeks or at the end of the season, Carter points to the acquisition of Kolb as the main source of the coach’s problems.
While Kolb has been the starter in three of the team’s four wins in 2012 and led a comeback drive in relief of Skelton back in Week 1, a lack of durability has plagued the Cardinals quarterback during his two years in Arizona.
Since coming over in a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles in July 2011, Kolb has played in just 15 of a potential 29 games.
“Andy Reid bamboozled them on that trade for Kolb,” said Carter. “Kolb is no good. That’s the beginning of the problem, when you trade for a starter who has been worse than the backups.”
In 15 appearances with Arizona, Kolb has thrown 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.