Matt Leinart was supposed to be the Arizona Cardinals’ QB of the present and future.
Kurt Warner was viewed as a player who once was great, but whose best days were behind him.
Yet, things all changed in 2007 when Ken Whisenhunt was hired to replace Dennis Green. Leinart struggled to pick up a new offense as well as stay healthy, whereas Warner — with gloves on each hand — seemed to get his turnover problems under control and look more and more like the player who was one of the NFL’s best passers in leading the St. Louis Rams to a pair of Super Bowls.
The two entered into a QB competition in 2008, with Warner winning and then going on to lead the Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII. Two years later, after Warner had retired, most expected Leinart to regain his role as the team’s quarterback, but over the course of the offseason Whisenhunt soured on the former Heisman Trophy winner, instead choosing to cut him and go with a combination of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton.
Whisenhunt was relieved of his duties in Arizona a few years later, and after a season as the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, he took over as the lead man in Tennessee for the Titans.
Whisenhunt’s tenure in Tennessee did not last long, however, as he was relieved of his duties Tuesday after less than two full seasons with the team.
“We have expected more progress on the field, and I felt it was time to move in a different direction,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. “I would like to thank Ken for his efforts with our team, as he worked very hard to try to move us forward.”
Upon learning the news, Warner — who credits Whisenhunt for helping to resurrect his career — chimed in with a thought on Twitter:
Needless to say Leinart, who was not pleased with how things went down in Arizona, had a different take on the deposed coach.
Who is to say which former QB’s assessment of the former Cardinals and Titans coach is correct? Whisenhunt did lead the Cardinals to their first and only Super Bowl, though he has amassed a record of just 21-50 over the three-plus seasons since Warner called it a career.
Either way, it’s clear both former Cardinals QBs — who are now analysts for different networks — have differing opinions on the coach, and they’re not at all too bashful to share them.
- Cardinals officially re-sign linebacker Philip Wheeler
- Vinny and Skinny: Cardinals edge out Colts, Cowboys up next
- Behind Enemy Lines: Arizona Cardinals open home slate against Cowboys
- The Consensus: Arizona Cardinals dip despite road win in Indianapolis
- Cardinals’ J.J. Nelson named NFC Offensive Player of the Week