Green: Warner is gone, but does Whiz realize it?

Oct 11, 2010, 10:18 PM | Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 4:24 pm

All throughout the offseason Ken Whisenhunt, when asked if
the offense would change with Kurt Warner retired,
responded by saying it wouldn’t. He felt that Matt
Leinart, at least during OTAs, could effectively run the
system.

At the time I think it was viewed as a positive. The
offense had been great the last few seasons and if it
could continue to be a strength – even without Warner
under center – the Cards were likely to win a third
straight NFC West crown. Add an improved defense to the
mix and you have a team that could possibly make another
deep run in the playoffs.

Five games and three quarterbacks into the season the
Cardinals are 3-2, in first place, and running the same
offense they did when Kurt was slinging darts all over the
field.

While two out of three aint bad, the offense needs to
change. Problem is it is not likely to, as Whiz seems
unable to comprehend the fact that Kurt Warner is no
longer the quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.

One note: We, as Cardinals fans, need to understand that
the Ken Whisenhunt we thought we knew, you know, someone
who wanted a run-based offense to control the ball and the
clock, is either gone or just a figment of our
imagination. If that were the case than Leinart never
would have been cut, Derek Anderson would not have had the
opportunity to overthrow receivers and Max Hall would
absolutely not be the team’s QB at this moment.

It was thought over the last few seasons that Whisenhunt
smartly built an offense around the talent he had with
Warner and his receivers. Foregoing the running game and
the “Pittsburgh West” mentality, Kurt had the freedom to
spread the field and air it out. The strategy was wildly
successful and helped propel the Cardinals to new heights.

But Kurt is gone, and it’s time for Whiz to take a look at
his roster and change the offense accordingly.

No longer should the Cardinals be a pass-first team, but
instead should focus on the run. When you have an
offensive line full of run-blockers and light on pass
protectors, a banged up group of receivers and an
undrafted rookie free agent at quarterback, logic would
say put less responsibility on the QB’s shoulders and more
on a running game that features a stable of quality backs.

The Cardinals ran the ball 24 times in Sunday’s win over
the Saints, with Max Hall throwing 29 passes. While the
balance was solid, the way they got there was, well,
baffling, as the team struggled to milk the clock.

Ken Whisenhunt is an aggressive play caller who showed
great confidence in his rookie quarterback. I understand
that stepping on the gas and going for the kill is a great
thing when the play works and a terrible thing when it
doesn’t. Regardless, that’s how Whiz is and he is not
going to change – and maybe he shouldn’t. After all,
that style nearly got the team a Super Bowl victory. As
well, letting the players know you believe in the QB is
rarely a bad thing, especially when he is an undrafted
rookie.

Still, when your decisions end up giving an explosive
Saints offense an opportunity to make a comeback,
something went wrong. After the game Coach
Whiz
openly admitted that he messed up. Accountability
is great, but when you’re calling the plays you need to
know better. When you are the head coach you HAVE TO know
better.

But it seems, even nine months after #13 retired, the head
coach is still not ready to move on. Nary a press
conference goes by without some mention of Kurt Warner
from the Whiz, and even Monday he said, when talking about
using four and five receivers, “Kurt used to always see
the field so well. He felt comfortable in that system…”
While ESPN’s Mike Sando broke
down how effective the team was
when they spread the
field Sunday, the fact remains that it is not likely the
team’s best option when they have the football.

While the fans have had a tough time dealing with the
retirement of the future Hall of Famer it seems that the
head coach is unable to accept it either. It’s time to
recognize that things have changed and it’s time to move
on.

Adam can be reached with your questions and comments by
e-mail

here
, and you can follow him on Twitter @theAdamGreen and you can follow him on Twitter @theAdamGreen

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