Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt may not be able to talk to his players due to the NFL lockout but that doesn’t mean he can’t talk to the media. On Tuesday he was a guest of Mike Florio’s on Pro Football Talk Live and talked about his team’s future.
During the interview Whisenhunt didn’t directly divulge his team’s plan on how to improve from their 5-11 season in 2010 but he did provide us with some context clues as to what he and general manager Rod Graves might have in mind.
“We haven’t been a team that’s been tremendously active in the free agent market,” he told Florio. “We’ve kind of adopted a little bit of the philosophy like some of the teams, such as Pittsburgh, that maybe you get one or two free agents that can help your team. Obviously that would be something that we’re looking at this year. The biggest thing for us is to draft well and develop some of the younger players you have on your team or ones that you bring in.”
Well that clears up one thing, whenever free agency does begin, don’t expect the Cardinals to go on a shopping spree to fill all their needs. They’ll add a few key pieces but they’ll lean on the draft to fill a majority of their holes.
The question then becomes which needs will they address via free agency and which will the utilize the draft for? Whisenhunt pulled back the curtain enough to give us an idea.
“I really believe that this year, more so than any of the other years as far as our draft preparation, we have to stick to the formula of how we’re doing it and not look so much at ‘we have holes in this area of our team that we need to address’ and maybe have to take a pick there to address that. The expectations for young guys to come in and make a contribution, you don’t have the success you would think you would even with high picks. There is a lot of the unknown with that going forward but we’re working hard to make sure we’re prepared no matter what happens.”
“You have to stay true to your process of how you evaluate players. When it comes your chance to pick you have to really analyze not only what your team needs are but the type of player that’s there. Sometimes in that situation you may feel you have a need and you might overlook a very good football player. That’s something that a lot of times, especially where we are with the fifth pick, that’s hard to recover from.”
There are a few assumptions we can make from those statements. One, Whisenhunt has learned from the Levi Brown pick and may regret passing on Adrian Peterson as much as the fans do. And two, don’t expect the Cards to reach at No.5 just to fill a glaring need.
When you view his comments as a whole it looks like the head coach is saying, without actually saying, that his team will take the best player available with the fifth overall pick. It doesn’t seem likely that one of the available quarterbacks will be viewed as such.
Which means one of those select few free agents the Cardinals acquire will have to be a quarterback like a Marc Bulger, that is unless Whisenhunt wants to develop either John Skelton or Max Hall again in 2011.