Cardinals' Coaching Staff Adjusts to Departures, Promotions

Jason P. SkodaContributor IMay 19, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 30:  Offensive line coach Russ Grimm of the Arizona Cardinals watches from sideline during a 21-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 30, 2007 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevin Terrell/Getty Images

The wake left behind from a Super Bowl run often leaves a coaching staff about as stable as a dingy boat caught in a small boat advisory enforced because of eight-foot waves.

Coaches become highly sought after, and the cohesiveness of the coaching staff essentially becomes capsized.

The Arizona Cardinals were no different.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley left to take over the Kansas City Chiefs franchise, defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast was fired and ended up on Haley staff as did former running back coach Maurice Carthon, while Jeff Rutledge was fired as quarterbacks coach.

Evidently it is going to take three people to replace Haley, who was the talk of the postseason after the Cardinals rode its offensive prowess to Super Bowl XLIII.

Russ Grimm and Mike Miller will share offensive coordinator duties as the running game coordinator and passing game coordinator, respectively.

Meanwhile, head coach Ken Whisenhunt is expected to be the man calling the plays, returning to the role he had in Pittsburgh as OC before taking over the Cardinals.

The defensive duties will fall to Bill Davis, who was promoted from linebackers coach after the Cardinals missed out on the Steelers’ Kevin Butler, who appeared to be front runner before deciding to stay in Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals ran a hybrid 3-4 defensive scheme last season as Whisenhunt and Pendergast, a holdover from the Dennis Green era, found a common ground.

With Davis, who was the DC with the 49ers from 2005 to 2007, in place the Cardinals will definitely morph into a 3-4 scheme.

Under Pendergast, the Cardinals forced plenty of turnovers and got to the quarterback often on blitzes. The personnel is in place to keep the same attacking style with improved containment as their young players mature and buy into their roles even more.

While there will be changes at the top on offense, expect to see more of the same as the Cardinals have one of the league’s most potent units.

Haley had no problems forgoing the running game at times to let Kurt Warner do his thing as Larry Fitzgerald blossomed into the game’s best and two other receivers, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston, produced 1,000-yard seasons.

Whisenhunt has a dual personality when it comes to play calling.

He comes from Pittsburgh stock, so he loves the running game.

Don’t forget the selection of Ohio State running back Beanie Wells in the first round, but he also loves the trick play and has no problems calling them at any moment.

Whisenhunt is witty and bright, and you can probably expect his playing calling to follow suit.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.