Former Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt returns to the University of Phoenix Stadium as the Offensive Coordinator for the San Diego Chargers today. His next preseason challenge will be between his new team and his new rival, which should prove to feel a little odd for both parties.
The demise of Whisenhunt’s head coaching career in Arizona appears to be viewed more negatively by fans than by the players that he coached during his six years there. Former QB Kurt Warner and WR Larry Fitzgerald have had nothing but positive things to say on the record about Whisenhunt, who ended his time with the Cardinals with a less than impressive 49-53 record overall. Even DT Darnell Dockett, who had public discourse with his old coach at times, has said that he would give coach “Whiz” a hug if the opportunity presented itself.
Warner reflected on the demeanor of Whisenhunt, raving about his confidence, honesty, and said that his greatest asset to the team is how he handles people and how he can bring the team together. Fitzgerald commented that Whisenhunt offers a high powered offense, that he was a phenomenal man to work with and the Chargers should be excited about his addition. He added that the coach should resume head coaching in the seasons to come. His coaching career in Arizona pales in comparison to current NFL coaches with about the same amount of experience. Mike McCarthy’s past with the Green Bay Packers (74-38) and Mike Tomlin’s 63-33 record with the Pittsburgh Steelers (the previous team where Whisenhunt was an offensive coordinator) are a testament to that.
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Fans did not see the team building, locker room version of Whisenhunt that Warner, Fitzgerald, and other players have complimented. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt in the coach’s ability to find success as an offensive coordinator. Whisenhunt was inept at producing a star quarterback to secure the franchise future in Arizona, his major downfall for the Cardinals. The departure of Ken Whisenhunt was welcomed, without backlash, but there are not necessarily hard feelings for the coach in Arizona. Along with his team of 2008 and 2009, Coach Whisenhunt guided the Cardinals to two NFC championships and a Super Bowl appearance, which is something fans have long waited for. Free agency has stripped away the sense of loyalty to one team for the most part and has made oppositions like this commonplace and more expected. The Cardinals primarily see it as a circumstance of the profession, wishing Whisenhunt well in the future. Arizona fans are waiting in anticipation to see what Head Coach Bruce Arians and his staff have up their sleeve this season.
Kick off for the preseason game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Diego Chargers is at 10pm EST.