Debating Whether Arizona Cardinals Coach Ken Whisenhunt Should Stay or Go

Andrew NordmeierContributor IIINovember 7, 2012

Whisenhunt looks on as the Cardinals lose to Green Bay.
Whisenhunt looks on as the Cardinals lose to Green Bay.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With the Arizona Cardinals on their bye week, this is the perfect time to debate whether or not Ken Whisenhunt should stay on as the Cardinals head coach in 2013.

Whisenhunt has guided the Cardinals to a 44-45 record in the regular season and a 4-5 mark so far in 2012. Arizona made the playoffs twice in his six-year tenure and came within a minute of winning Super Bowl XLIII against Pittsburgh. Whisenhunt has a 4-2 record in the postseason. 

For the Cardinals, those playoff berths seem like ages ago, and coaching is widely known as a "What-have-you-done-for-me-lately?" role. That's a question that can be answered with the phrase "failure of historic proportions."

Arizona started out this season 4-0, becoming one of 34 teams in the last 10 seasons to win their first four games, along with Houston and Atlanta. The Cardinals have since dropped five consecutive games and are in a free-fall that has been slowed by the bye week. 

In researching the statistics, no team in the last decade has dropped five in a row after starting the season the way Arizona did. The 2002 Oakland Raiders opened 4-0, dropped their next four, but won seven of their last eight to make the playoffs and go to the Super Bowl where they lost to Tampa Bay

Arizona might need that kind of comeback for Whisenhunt to keep his job. 

The Cardinals have been on a severe backslide on the offensive side of the ball. In his first three seasons, Arizona had a top-15 offense led by Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald. Since then, they've finished 31st in two of the last three seasons. 

Arizona's rushing offense has been in the bottom 10 in each of Whisenhunt's six seasons in the desert. The Cardinals have relied on a top-10 caliber passing attack to give them a chance at success, but the team has been one-dimensional during his tenure. 

The coaching staff Whisenhunt has to work with leaves a lot to be desired and that hurts his chances to stay on board. Under the guidance of Russ Grimm, the offensive line has been miserable at best. They allowed 105 sacks in the last two seasons and have allowed 41 sacks through nine games this year.

Arizona has now suffered through a losing streak of five games in the last three years. Coaching and losing streaks don't mix well and the Cardinals' job is no exception. 

Yes, things changed significantly after the departure of Kurt Warner. However, Arizona had plenty of time and draft picks to adjust to life without Warner and they haven't seem to have done that as of yet. 

The one bright spot is the Cardinals' defense, which has truly put it together this season and looks to be one of the better units in the NFL. Before then, the Cardinals meandered near the middle with an average defense. 

Still, things don't look good for Whisenhunt, as coaches with his record don't last long in the league. They also don't last long in Arizona either. In the team's history, no coach has lasted more than six seasons.

Unless the Cardinals have another second-half surge, Whisenhunt will be hard-pressed to avoid being another head coach scratched out by the franchise's six-year itch.