|12-16-2012, 10:21 PM||#1|
Whisenhunt's replacement...Todd Haley?
With the Arizona Cardinals losing nine straight games after a 4-0 start, including a historic 58-0 loss last week to rival Seattle, team officials are mulling possible changes for the offseason, sources said, with former Cardinals coordinator Todd Haley a top option to replace coach Ken Whisenhunt if a change is made.
Haley has shined in his first season as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator -- following his firing as Chiefs coach last year -- and his name continues to come up in internal discussions in Arizona, sources said. The Bidwill family remains big supporters of Haley, who served as offensive coordinator in 2007-08 and was play caller for Arizona's lone Super Bowl team. The Bidwills pushed for Haley to be back on Whisenhunt's staff after last season, facilitating a series of meetings between Whisenhunt and Haley, but Whisenhunt had already committed to coordinator Mike Miller calling plays and ended up retaining the staff favorite.
The Cardinals have been stout defensively under coordinator Ray Horton but have failed on the offensive side of the ball amid a revolving door at quarterback. While it would be out of character for the franchise to absorb a financial hit to make a coaching change (Whisenhunt is still owed $5.5 million, sources said), the move is possible given how poorly this season has gone. Arizona is 17-28 since 2009 and has not been a serious playoff contender since Kurt Warner's retirement after the '09 season.
Also, assistant general manager Steve Keim, who has a strong reputation around the league, could perhaps end up replacing long-time GM Rod Graves. Notably, Keim shares a strong relationship with Haley from Haley's previous time in Arizona.
At this point, it would be surprising to many if someone other than Haley ended up coaching the Cardinals should Whisenhunt's tenure there end.
Haley's possible departure from the Steelers could be part of a larger trend of OC turnover within the AFC North. The Ravens have already fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Bengals OC Jay Gruden is expected to be a top candidate for multiple head coaching vacancies and new ownership and management in Cleveland means the future of head coach Pat Shurmur and his staff is in doubt.