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Ken Whisenhunt, ascending NFL head coach?

Herm Edwards used to be an NFL head coach, leading both the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs to a good amount of success.

Now an analyst for ESPN, Edwards spends his time discussing the league, chatting with rookies, and playing to win the game.

OK, maybe not the last part, even if that’s what one always does.

Anyway, in a piece for ESPN Insider, Edwards ranked the NFL’s 32 head coaches and separated them by tier.

Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt ranked 15th, and was placed in the “Ascending” group.

A former NFL tight end and Steelers offensive coordinator, Ken knows what he wants to do on offense. He wants to minimize mistakes and be balanced between the run and pass. Being a former player, the players respect him. He’s seen it all. Players love honesty and consistency, and he’s brought both to the Cardinals’ organization — one that hasn’t had a lot of success or excitement in the past.

His overall record doesn’t really reflect the job he’s done turning around that team. Although he rode the hot hand of Kurt Warner to a Super Bowl appearance, his biggest issue is that he’s never had a franchise QB to work with — and it doesn’t look like one is on the roster right now. His future in Arizona is dependent on whether John Skelton or Kevin Kolb turns into a reliable starter. He’s also struggled with his defense, but Ray Horton will help him this year.

Few would have argued the idea that Whisenhunt was one of the game’s better coaches a few years ago, as he guided the Cardinals to a pair of NFC West titles and an appearance in the Super Bowl.

A couple of down years, though, combined with a seeming inability to get a handle on the quarterback position have led to Whiz losing some of his luster, as questions are starting to pop up regarding his future in the desert.

Joining Whisenhunt as an ascending coach is the 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh, and Arizona’s coach ranks ahead of the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll but behind the Rams’ Jeff Fisher.