If Whiz evolves, a potential quality hire
January, 13, 2014
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We don't know the differences in money or years or power, but it appears at least one hot coaching prospect ranks the Tennessee Titans as a superior opportunity to the Detroit Lions.
Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean first reported and ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen have confirmed that Ken Whisenhunt is the Titans' new coach.
Whisenhunt coached the Arizona Cardinals to a 49-53 record from 2007 to 2012 and led them to the NFC championship and a Super Bowl XLIII loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of the 2008 season.
But after Kurt Warner retired, the Cardinals were a jumble at the quarterback spot. There were reports of a near mutiny in the Arizona locker room in 2012, when the team went 5-11.
Whisenhunt was fired and the Cardinals replaced him with Bruce Arians, whose team went 10-6 this season.
Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers and did well to help revitalize veteran quarterback Philip Rivers while working with rookie head coach Mike McCoy.
Coaches with previous head-coaching experience have been hired for three of the four jobs filled so far in the NFL -- with former Penn State coach Bill O'Brien hired in Houston, former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith hired in Tampa Bay and now Whisenhunt hired in Tennessee.
The Titans interviewed just four candidates, total. Jay Gruden was hired as head coach in Washington. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer appears to be a prime candidate in Minnesota. Former Colts coach and current Baltimore offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell could now be the leader in Detroit.
Hiring a guy who's been in charge before makes sense provided he identifies what went wrong the first time and intends to make changes.
Whisenhunt was probably too much of a players' coach with the Cardinals. He reportedly held grudges. He didn't do well to find or develop a quarterback once Warner was done and may need more and better help at that.
If he adjusts in those areas and others he can admit were issues for him, this can be a good hire.
I have no reason to believe he won't adjust and evolve.
But if he doesn't, the Titans could be hiring a guy who went 25-36 as a head coach when Warner was not his quarterback.