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Monday, December 31, 2012
Around the NFC West: Waiting on Cards

By Mike Sando

Nothing has changed for the Arizona Cardinals in weeks.

The organization has had ample time to plan for an offseason that began when San Francisco backup quarterback Alex Smith knelt on the ball one final time during the 49ers' 27-13 victory over Arizona on Sunday.

Team president Michael Bidwill will decide what happens next.

Pushing the organizational reset button would certainly be justified after the Cardinals' second 5-11 finish in three seasons. Bidwill cannot reasonably look fans in the face and tell them he plans to stay the course.

Change for the sake of change doesn't necessarily represent an upgrade, however.

The Cardinals need new quarterbacks. They need changes to their offensive staff, whether or not Ken Whisenhunt returns as head coach. They need a new general manager to match what Seattle's John Schneider, San Francisco's Trent Baalke and St. Louis' Les Snead have going elsewhere in the division. They need to build upon what defensive coordinator Ray Horton has established on that side of the ball over the past two seasons.

Arizona should know by now whether promoting Horton to head coach would upgrade the team. Keeping Whisenhunt and losing Horton would feel like a net loss. But if Horton doesn't project as an effective head coach -- again, the Cardinals should have a good feel for this -- promoting him to the role could weaken two key positions: head coach and the coordinating position Horton has manned so ably.

Bidwill and Whisenhunt are scheduled to meet Monday morning, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. They'll have much to discuss, but not much of it will be new.