His fine work with Philip Rivers in San Diego and his trip to the Super Bowl with the Cardinals in 2008 helped make Whisenhunt one of this winter’s top coaching candidates, but one former quarterback from his Arizona days panned the hire.
“I don’t think it’s a great fit, and I don’t think it’s great timing, and here’s why,” Matt Leinart told Fox Sports Live this week, per ArizonaSports.com. “You look at his tenure in Arizona — only two years, he had success, and in those two years, Kurt Warner ran that football team — I was a part of it.
“Every single Monday, Kurt Warner would come in and implement 20 to 30 new plays, which he would say, ‘I want these in my game plan.’ We became a spread offense and we became Kurt Warner’s offense. Then Kurt Warner retires, they go 5-11 twice and they go 8-8.”
(The potentially bitter) Leinart warned: “The Tennessee Titans do not have a quarterback right now.”
As we mentioned on Wednesday’s “Around the League Podcast,” Whisenhunt deserves credit for the development of Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, where he helped the Steelers quarterback to a 22-3 record over Big Ben‘s first two seasons.
Still, Whiz saw no such progress with the clown car of passers he oversaw in Arizona after Warner called it quits. While that front office did him no favors with the doomed trade for Kevin Kolb, Whiz is accountable for poorly managing his quarterback room and flip-flopping between no less than four starters in 2012.
Inheriting a promising young signal-caller in Jake Locker, Whisenhunt’s reputation for growing young quarterbacks will soar if he takes the Titans starter to the next level in 2014. Failure to do so will tarnish this honeymoon in a hurry.