The Cardinals have a decision to make about Ken Whisenhunt.
First off, I think the Cardinals need to hold on to Whisenhunt and I am not advocating that he be fired. Overall, he has done a good job in his six years in the desert and has brought an air of respectability to the franchise.
But, I do think the Cardinals need to be bold and make major changes to their team as soon as this season is over. Except for Whisenhunt, the Cardinals need to effectively clean house on the offensive side of the ball and bring in an entirely new coaching staff.
The first message that needs to be sent is that the Cardinals are extending Whisenhunt through the 2014 NFL season, giving him two years to sort out this mess.
If they feel the teams poor record is a reflection of poor personnel decisions and the wrong players, then the team needs to replace general manager Rod Graves and bring in a better judge of talent.
If they feel that Whisenhunt is truly the problem, Cardinals management then needs to ask the question of who would they hire instead?
That question is exactly why I believe the Cardinals need to look at the situation rationally and without emotion.
Who are they going to hire to replace Whisenhunt? If you say defensive coordinator Ray Horton, I get it, but you'll still have all of the same issues on the offensive side of the ball now with an inexperienced head coach on top of it.
Should the Cardinals keep Whisenhunt?
There figures to be as many as 12 coaches fired this offseason.
While the Cardinals have talent on both sides of the ball, I don't believe too many hot coaching candidates would pass up opportunities with marquee franchises like the Eagles, Cowboys, Jets, Browns, Chargers, Raiders or the Lions. The Cardinals would find themselves competing with teams like the Panthers, Jaguars, Chiefs, Titans and Bills for a coach.
The Cardinals need to make their intentions clear with Whisenhunt as soon as the season is over. Why? The Cardinals could offer the stability of a two-year contract with a secure head coach to any assistant that they want. The Cardinals badly need to hire a better offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
The Cardinals should have the pick of the litter with coaching assistants and bring in an entire new group to coach the offensive side of the ball.
Whisenhunt may initially balk at firing his friends and colleagues, many of whom he has hand picked to come to the team. But, once he looks at it from a business standpoint, he'll realize that the NFL is a results league, and the team has failed to make the playoffs the past three seasons.
Looking at the remaining schedule, the Cardinals will likely finish this season at 5-11. Over the past three seasons Whisenhunt and the Cardinals will be 18-30. There aren't too many coaches still working for the same team with a record like that.
Whisenhunt would have the option of starting over elsewhere, but if he truly believes in his system, then he will stay here and make the necessary changes to the coaching staff and roster.
Once the coaching staff is remade, the Cardinals will have to again address the quarterback position, as well as the offensive line through free agency and the upcoming draft.
The Cardinals will need to act quickly and decisively in order to get the coaches that they want. Now we'll have to see if they are up to the task.