Green: Clock is ticking for Whisenhunt, Cardinals

Nov 15, 2010, 4:46 AM | Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 4:24 pm

The Cardinals’ slogan, “We do this together,” has been
around since the 2008 season.

I’m sorry, Cardinals, but please don’t lump me in
with what you guys have been doing on the field the last
few weeks. You’re failing perfectly fine without my help.

Sunday afternoon the Cardinals had a chance to turn their
season around and, in a way, they did. Instead of just
sputtering along playing mediocre football their 2010
campaign took a nosedive towards that area where the
greatest concern among fans is who the team will take in
April’s draft.

How did it get to this point? Likely a combination of bad
breaks, shaky personnel decisions, inconsistent play and
poor coaching led to the 3-6 mark the team is now
carrying. Yet, none of that gives the players an excuse to
quit, which it seems like they did in the third quarter of
the loss.

Sure, Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the effort was there. And
yes,
the players all say they have been working hard and it’s
just not happening for them on the field. But anyone
watching that game could see the lack of tackling,
blocking and overall concentration as a sign that this
team has begun the process of mailing the season in. That
it is even a possibility falls squarely on the coaches,
and once that process starts it usually ends with the team
losing plenty of games and the head coach losing his job.

Not that I’m advocating that the Cardinals look to replace
their head coach. While Whisenhunt is no longer the rising
star he used to be he is still the most successful coach
the franchise has seen since moving to the desert, and
dumping him because of one bad season is the type of knee-
jerk reaction usually reserved for owners with the last
name Davis.

But, while a down year should have been expected following
the exodus of talent during the offseason, much of the
team’s issues seem to be of the self-made variety.
Patching holes left by Pro-Bowlers with other teams’
castoffs was probably not the best way to go about things,
as the general lack of talent in key spots is pretty
alarming. Ultimately whether Whisenhunt made the calls on
putting this roster together or Rod Graves and Michael
Bidwill had final say, or even if it is a combination of
the three, it’s the head coach’s job to have
the team ready to play. Pair early-game struggles with
lackluster third quarters and one could conclude that the
Cardinals have been out-coached this season.

So, where do the Cardinals go from here? Well, besides
closer and closer to the top of the draft, it’s really up
to them. They have seven games left – including two
against the rival (and suddenly competent) 49ers – as well
as dates with the resurgent Rams, Chiefs and Broncos.
Throw in a road game at Carolina and a home date with the
talented-yet-struggling Cowboys and it is not out of the
realm of possibility that this team could finish with only
a couple more wins than they have now.

However, a five win season would be no reason to begin the
search for a new coach. Having not had a losing record
since coming to Arizona, Ken Whisenhunt is at least owed
the chance to clean up the mess and turn things around; he
did lead the team to the Super Bowl, afterall. But if he
ends up losing the team – and plenty more games – he may
become just another coaching casualty, one who falls
victim to the adage that coaches are hired just to be
fired.

Whisenhunt deserves time to get the Cardinals back on
track and regain his spot among the best coaches in the
NFL, but as the seconds ticked away in Sunday’s
humiliating 36-18 loss to the Seahawks one thing became
clear: the clock is ticking.

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

here
, and you can follow him on Twitter @theAdamGreen

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