Bidwill expects better return on investment
October, 12, 2011
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
Mark J. Rebilas/US PRESSWIREOwnership is putting the pressure on coach Ken Whisenhunt to right the ship in Arizona.
The Arizona Cardinals were riding high after adding Kevin Kolb, Daryn Colledge, Stewart Bradley, Todd Heap and others veteran players during the lockout-shortened offseason.
"We knew we wanted to step in and be very aggressive, and we weren’t going to let the market settle or anything like that," team president Michael Bidwill told reporters during training camp. "We just wanted to go out there and put our best foot forward, really go out there and take a shot at some of the best players across the league."
Opening the season with a 1-4 record wasn't what the team had in mind. Two months after Bidwill basked in the aggressive approach to the market, he's putting the pressure on coach Ken Whisenhunt to turn around the team.
"We certainly felt like we addressed all the issues we needed to address, not only in the draft, but in free agency, and even got better," Bidwill told Brad Cesmat of XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix on Wednesday. "But I trust Ken Whisenhunt and I know that he has got laser focus on getting these issues fixed, getting the mental errors removed from the game."
Bidwill was shifting responsibility onto others, specifically Whisenhunt, when he said the organization had done enough in the draft and free agency for the team to succeed. The team's 34-10 loss at Minnesota was its fourth consecutive defeat.
"Having spent as much time with Ken since seeing him in the locker room after Minnesota and we spent a little bit of time later this afternoon on a better sense of where we are, there is no question in my mind Ken Whisenhunt will get this turned around," Bidwill said.
The Cardinals have now lost 13 of their past 16 games.
It's clear Bidwill feels as though the Cardinals gave Whisenhunt what he wanted during the offseason, from Kolb to defensive coordinator Ray Horton to Bradley and others. Comments Bidwill made about Kolb made it clear that the scouts and coaches, not ownership, are under pressure for how the quarterback pans out.
"You've got to have great quarterback play in this league to win and that is what the expectations are," Bidwill said. "He is not a guy who had a whole lot of game experience, but certainly our scouts and coaching staff felt like he was ready to take the next step. That is what I needed to feel good about signing him to the contract we signed him to."
Again, Bidwill drives home the point that the organization has done its part. Coaches and scouts vouched for Kolb, so Bidwill opened his wallet, handing over a five-year deal worth $63 million. That type of investment created expectations for immediate success.
"I think there has got to be a little bit of frustration at this point," Bidwill said of Kolb's performance, "but at the same time, he is still the same guy that we scouted. He has got great football intangibles. He is football smart. He has a great release, a great arm. He can do it. We just have to get him comfortable in the scheme that we are in and comfortable in the offense."