Despite Exits, Arizona Coaching Staff Looking Strong for 2009

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Despite Exits, Arizona Coaching Staff Looking Strong for 2009
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

When a NFL franchise has a great season, players leaving for "greener pastures" has become a part of the game. Less mentioned, but just as vital, is the loss of coaches, who take jobs that include more control, more familiar personnel and prestige.

After their Super Bowl run in 2008, the Arizona Cardinals lost some coveted coaches to the Kansas City Chiefs, who named Cards' offensive coordinator Todd Haley their new head man. Haley brought some of his colleagues with him, naming Clancy Pendergast defensive coordinator, the Redbirds' DC for the past five seasons.

Haley also made former Arizona offensive quality control coach Dedric Ward his wide receivers coach for the Chiefs.

“The thing I feel the best about is there won’t be any changes in philosophy or terminology on both sides of the ball,” Coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “That’s a big thing, and something you worry about. You don’t want that disruption or uncertainty for our players.”

Whisenhunt, who made a name for himself as an offensive coordinator during a Super Bowl run with the Pittsburgh Steelers, went a different route in restocking his coaching ranks. First, he named linebackers coach Bill Davis, a former DC in San Francisco, the new head of the defense.

Davis was a defensive assistant for several NFL teams, including Whisenhunt's Pittsburgh mentor, Bill Cowher.

Whisenhunt will take over Haley's play-calling responsibility on offense and promoted receivers coach Mike Miller to passing game coordinator and offensive line coach Russ Grimm to lead the running game. Miller and Grimm will handle their respective areas of the offense during the week, while Whisenhunt will direct the offense on gameday.

“I am a big believer in developing coaches and that is the process we will go through again,” Whisenhunt said. “Hopefully we will have the same success.”

Grimm, who came to Arizona with Whisenhunt from Pittsburgh, was a member of the legendary Washington Redskins' "Hogs" line and has been instrumental in getting the Cards' offensive line to gel this past year and developing younger players.

Whisenhunt and Grimm have had such a great rapport, Whisenhunt made Grimm his assistant head coach when they came to the desert and relies heavily on his advice on gameday and throughout the week.

With such a strong relationship with those around him, handing coaches new responsibilities has become second nature for Whisenhunt. With the luck he has had in his short time in Arizona, "Whiz" now has full control over his team and "his guys" on his coaching staff.

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