Cardinals had time to prepare Haley contingency

February, 6, 2009
2/06/09
8:28
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals will miss offensive coordinator Todd Haley if and when he becomes the Chiefs' head coach, but they're in good position to weather his departure.

One, the Cardinals have had time to prepare contingency plans. I do not know those plans. Russ Grimm is assistant head coach. Running backs coach Maurice Carthon has experience as a coordinator. Either one could step into the role if the Cardinals decided to hire from within. 

Two, the Cardinals have an offensive-minded head coach. Ken Whisenhunt was calling the plays through much of the 2007 season. He handed off play-calling duties to Haley to fulfill a promise he had made as part of a broader effort to keep Haley on his staff. Whisenhunt could resume calling plays while giving the new offensive coordinator time to grow into the role.

The search for coaches with ties to Whisenhunt takes us to Bill Cowher's old staffs in Pittsburgh. Mike Mularkey would be an ideal candidate to replace Haley if he weren't offensive coordinator for the Falcons. Mark Whipple, the new offensive coordinator at the Univeristy of Miami, was quarterbacks coach for the Steelers from 2004 through the 2006 season, but he wasn't part of the staff Whisenhunt assembled in Arizona. I am not sure why.

We'll know the Cardinals' plans soon enough, assuming Haley indeed becomes the Chiefs' next head coach. Whisenhunt has had plenty of time to prepare for Haley's eventual departure.

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