Phoenix, AZ- Peace out to Rod Graves, Ken Whisenhunt and all the other big fish in the NFL who lost their jobs today.
The Blackest Monday of recent history showed the door both to the general manager and coach 0f San Diego, Cleveland and Arizona. Chicago, Kansas City, Buffalo and Philadelphia all canned their coaches, while Jacksonville and the New York Jets have both fired their general managers but not their coaches, yet.
Arizona’s moves hardly came at a surprise. Some hope had been held out for Whisenhunt based on his past accomplishments, but the 58-0 massacre in Seattle probably sealed his fate weeks ago.
Whiz will be remembered more fondly than not in the valley. He took the Cardinals and its fans further than ever before, to Arizona’s only Super Bowl. However, finishing the season 1-11 and failing to develop a competent offense is unacceptable, and his exit is justified.
Rod Graves’ exit is more than justified. As general manager, he oversaw a player-development staff that turned out one of the worst offensive line/quarterback combinations the NFL has ever seen, and he should never be forgiven for drafting Levi Brown over Adrian Peterson in 2007. Arizona started four quarterbacks this season, and it’s a wonder the team won more games than the amount of QBs who started for it.
Hopefully the Bidwill family can bring in someone with a plan. This team has talent on both sides of the ball, and it needs someone who will make the Cardinals competitive now while building a strong foundation for years to come. Stability and leadership from management are what this franchise needs to turn talent into wins.
A company doesn’t fire its top executives without candidates in line to replace them, so who are the candidates Arizona has in mind?
Foxsports.com reported that Cardinals current vice president of player personnel, Steve Keim, is an early frontrunner to replace Graves. Keim has been with the organization since 1999 and is highly respected, but he is a candidate for the Brown’s GM vacancy as well.
It’s been rumored for the past month that defensive coordinator Ray Horton would be promoted to head coach if/when Whisenhunt got fired. Despite Horton having no head coaching experience, several other teams around the league may be interested in his services. The Bidwills will, at the very least, consider hiring Horton to run the team, but they will probably wait until they hire a GM to make that decision.
People lose their jobs after disappointing years in any business, but football is magnified more than almost any other. It was sad to see Whiz get let go, but like an old truck that doesn’t work anymore, he had to be scrapped. Hopefully whoever fills his shoes can do better next season.
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic