Monthly Archives: January 2014

No Doubt How The Lions Should Use The 10th Pick

Ready?

We’ve gone from a standstill to a full Usain sprint of mock draft season. Mel Kiper released his yesterday. NFL.com has theirs out as well. 

A year ago at this time I was perplexed why Lions fans were so adamant that the team draft a pass rusher with their top pick in the draft. 

I’m not saying the Lions should completely ignore defensive end/pass rusher in April. But when the Lions have so many desperate needs on the roster, don’t waste the 5th overall pick on a unit that already offers two Pro Bowl/All Pro type of players. It requires little hardcore football knowledge, just common sense, to comprehend that if Fairley and Suh are replicating what they did in the final half of ’12, then it should be a great deal easier for whomever is on either side of them to be a disruptive pass rushing presence.

So as the unofficially, unappointed GM of the Lions what would I do at five? Before we go through the nonsense of guys getting hyped up, or hyped down, at this very moment, without the certainty of being able to trade down, unless he has some inescapable and overt weaknesses as judged by the combine and scouts, just take Dee Milliner (he SHOULD be there at 5, I think) and call it a first round.

The full post is here

As much as he struggled most of the year in New York, late in the year Dee Milliner began to figure out how to be a defensive back in the NFL, so I don’t think I feel like a fool for my preference a year ago.

Ziggy Ansah had a very capable year for the Lions, playing 14 games and registering 8 sacks. And his efforts were welcome and needed after the versatile veteran Jason Jones’ season ended even before September was complete. 

Depth is vital to success in the NFL. Without depth none of the league’s final four teams would be where they are now. Especially the Patriots. 

Having Ansah to compliment Suh and Fairley was helpful, but with as dominant as the Lions interior was again this year, more snaps for Ansah’s fellow rookie Devin Taylor, and mini-veteran Willie Young, might have produced similar results as the BYU rookie. 

I need to take the contrary approach yet again this year when it comes to what I feel is the fan consensus for the Lions draft selection at tenth in the first round. Though perhaps the release of more studious mocks will change fan urges. 

You’re familiar with the three year exploits of Marquise Lee of USC, you know the size and power of Texas A & M’s Mike Evans and you’re veritably smitten with Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, who’d be MY top ranked wide receiver because of what appears to be exceptional playmaking ability. I know, I know. I said that about Tavon Austin too. The Rams misused him though, and Watkins is more of a traditional wide receiver anyway. 

The Lions first pick should not be either of those three players. 

Presumably, the Lions specifically targeted a head coach with an offensive background so that they could finally extract the best play possible out of THEIR franchise quarterback. If that doesn’t happen, and Stafford’s game continues to be defined with words like potential and inconsistency, Tony Dungy’s 2014 playoff proclamation will be sorely wrong. 

Let’s say Caldwell is success and the maximization of Stafford’s gifts are ready to explode in the ’14 season. If that’s the case and absolutely the expectation and certainly the demand (from fans), his elevated play and consistency should help all of those around him flourish. In other words, time to start making chicken salad. He worked into the kitchen for the first half of the season, then spent the post-bye weeks with his hand stuck in the garbage disposal. 

Don’t get spellbound by Chicago’s towering and talented receiving duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Let’s not act like selfish kindergarteners and because they have one, we want one. You can want. Just don’t take…with the first draft selection. After all, Jeffery was the 45th overall pick. His stock dropped because of weight questions. 

Just as I felt and hoped for last year, the Lions first draft pick should be a secondary player. Forget about it being a poor unit, when’s the last time they had an impact player (who could stay on the field), and someone who teams had to gameplan against and around? Uhh, Dre Bly? EVER in the past 20 years!?

Unlike last year’s feening for the local hero – Denard Robinson – this year that strategy makes perfect sense for the Lions. Even if Darqueze Dennard was not GO GREEN, GO WHITE, pending further scouting, combine probing and team interviews, he’s likely the top cornerback available in the draft. Even if he was from the tiniest school in the FBS, Dennard is at worst a ‘safe’ pick for the Lions. At most, maybe Lions fans can start using the term ‘shut down corner’ and not be talking about who’s covering Calvin that week. Instead, it’s their own. 

Walter Football’s CB rankings

So what if Sammy Watkins is someone else’s exhilirating playmaker? Worry about that when they’re the opponent. There’s more ‘names’ to choose from in the wide receiver ranks as ther draft wears on. 

Just a sampling: Penn State’s crafty Allen Robinson. You want your giant…how’d ya like Fla. State’s Kelvin Benjamin to be around when the Lions choose? Scan through WF’s WR rankings for more names to excite you. 

Yes, the Lions need more options for Stafford to choose from. However, don’t limit yourself to just those names slightly above. Pass catching ‘tight ends’ (the quotes are to laugh at the designation) may be available for the Lions to select from as well. Yes, even in addition to Joseph Fauria. Remember, Brandon Pettigrew may or may not be back. 2013’s draft pick, Michael Williams, IR’d before the season may become the block-first tight end making Pettigrew expendable.

We’ll see.

I’m just saying, don’t panic if the Lions first option behind Calvin isn’t a wide receiver. They also have Reggie Bush, who I expect even more out of than last year. But, a fear of Bush having passed his prime is an honest worry. 

Even if potential playmaking linebackers like Anthony Barr or Khalil Mack were to tumble to the Lions, or a lineman to get you thinking about transitioning Riley Rieff, it’s been too many years where the secondary has been an easy point of an attack for opponents.

Detroit requires a player in the back four who can not only make life challenging for a quarterback trying to complete passes, but also someone adroit at creating turnover chaos. I don’t know when and if we’ll ever see another Charles Tillman type scoring weapon in a secondary, but the Lions can’t rely on DeAndre Levy to pick off 6 more passes…maybe in his entire career. He had 6 of their 15 picks in ’13. Only nine teams took the ball away from their opponents less than the Lions last year. Subtract a LINEBACKER’s INTs and that’s a whole lot uglier.

Yes, Stafford and the offernse can’t give the ball away 34 times like they did last year, but they also have to get the ball away from the opposition more frequently if they’re going to shave that -12 differential closer to 0, or oh my, even a plus!

The Lions must take a defensive back with their first pick, and it’ll be difficult to change my staunchness to that opinion. But, try if you’d like.

Who’s The Incompetent One?

On June 27th, 2012 when the Pistons traded Ben Gordon and a pick to the HornetsBobCats I was…happy and proud. 

The Pistons took a measure needed to get rid of Ben Gordon’s attitude, fading skills and his atrocious contract, where $25.6 million dollars over two years remained. 

Because of rigidity of the NBA salary cap when you make a financial miscalculation on a player one of two reasonable (no amnesty, no buyouts) things can be done to try and economically rebound:

– Wait it out. As the Pistons are doing now with Charlie Villanueva. That’s free and open money this summer.

– Deal your bad deal for someone else’s bad deal and hope the fits are better for each. 

Of the latter, two things can happen. It turns out to be a shrewd move (for you) and the team begins trending up, while crossing off certain personnel needs on the shopping list. 

Two, your initial error has been compounded. This is real trouble. The Knicks offer a good example of this. I compare the repeated trade attempts to make up for a bad signing, or two, to lies. 

When we were young, our parents told us not to lie. For that one lie would lead to another, and another and another. Before you/we know it our stories are all criss-crossed and discombobulated and we struggle to recall what the initial lie was even about.

It’s chaos. 

*On the note of lieing, it’s apt to share the sage words of Mark Twain, ‘If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.’* A-freakin-men. 

Compounding NBA trade after trade desperately trying to land the right combination of players – not usually benefical draft picks – to help the organization start trending back in the right direction rarely ever works out. Sometimes, worse than bottoming out in the League, you’ve achieved a more harrowing fate. You’re now somewhere in the neighborhood of the 7th to 10th best team in the conference. Get eviscerated by a Miami or OKC in the first round, or land at the end of the lottery where the choices aren’t as obvious or fruitful, and certainly not as transformative, as they are at the top of the lottery. 

Unless something unconventional and drastic happens – to ‘save’ the draft pick or to drastically improve – the Pistons are now playing for two games at the Palace against Miami or Indiana in mid-April. 

The price of NBA financial freedom is often costly. 

For the Pistons to rid themselves of Gordon’s deal (THIS was the thorny impetus of everything) the painful, but expected, cost was a future draft pick. At the time, we had fair idea how transcendent the draft was going to be (this year’s) in the second year where Charlotte was able to capture the Piston’s draft pick. 

I wasn’t too concerned. A lot can change with draft prospects in two years, and by then the Pistons should’ve markedly improved.

The setting was now this: an emerging Greg Monroe, a full offseason for the previous lottery pick, Brandon Knight, to improve, the 9th pick in that June’s draft and nearly an entire roster of expiring contracts in the coming years equating to a Federal Reserve sized vault of money to spend on free agents, but moreso, to work inventive trades to enhance personnel since Detroit was no flashy destination for free agents. 

I was happy. Joe Dumars, even at a lofty price, had secured a get out of economic jail free card with the transaction. 

Up to then Dumars had created a questionable resume for a general manager in the post ’04 championship world of the Pistons. 

My vertical wasn’t more than four inches off the ground, but I was willing to give Dumars a leap of faith that he’d learned from the miscalculations on Gordon and Villanueva. Maybe a ‘Damn, I got lucky with Moose in the draft. Better not fcuk this up.’

He’d owned the team for less than 13 months, but Tom Gores was soon going to task Joe Dumars with erecting a competitive playoff Pistons team. 

Having come from a background where he needed to accept a scholarship to attend Michigan State, I can only deduce that Gores’ $2.5 billion dollars in worth came from refining a keen business acumen and dedicated, endless work, not from a family trust. 

You have to have an uncommon level of intelligence to make that kind of fortune. 

Immediately after Joe Dumars dealt Ben Gordon, he should’ve felt the doubt Pistons fans hardbored in Dumars’ GM prowess, thanked him for his time and fired him. 

Instead, Dumars remained. 

By the time all is said and done, the deals given to Villanueva and Gordon might look like pop gun shots compared to the genocidal nuclear bombs of the summer of 2013. 

This hindsight is the inescapable vision of a galatic telescope, but few would’ve minded if after selecting Andre Drummond, Gores would’ve fired Dumars. 

As happy after that trade as I was, as time wore on my lack of confidence in Dumars grew to the size of their young, newly drafted center. 

Did they shop Corey Maggette’s expiring contract for an asset?

Why couldn’t they figure out the Brandon Knight conundrum?

The acquisition of Jose Calderon was smart. It showed what the Pistons were capable of with a legitmate offensive orchestrator at point guard, and it moved more money off the summer books. 

Didn’t move the impending expiring deals of Rodney Stuckey nor Villanueva.

I’m not willing to throw the towel in yet on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, even light of Trey Burke’s quality play since his return from a broken finger, but the Pistons are really hindering KCP’s growth. 

Maurice Cheeks was an underwhelming hire to replace Lawrence Frank. 

The mercurial Josh Smith is signed. Bringing questionable size to the Pistons frontcourt, in an era of smaller, fleeter lineups, and by making him the 3, essentially encouraging him to hoist up even more 3’s which have played a major role in why he’s never ascended to an All Star level. But he’s $54 million dollars anyway. 

It was great to move Knight, though I remain confident  that off the bench as a 3 & D he could’ve excelled, but wait, you bring in the erratic and inefficient Brandon Jennings AND extend him!? Jennings and Smith is a volatile pairing. The owner said PLAYOFFS, no matter the toxic fumes that eminate. 

Dumars did it anyway. Because Gores demanded playoffs, which is his right as an owner to do. But his duty as an owner is to make the best decisions for the franchise, and in that, he failed by not firing Dumars on June 28th, 2012. 

Other things that irk me:

FWIW, former Pistons 2nd rounder Khris Middleton is averaging 11.7 and 4.4 rebounds and hitting 43% of his 3.1 three attempts per game for the Bucks…

…where Knight has reached a career high in points, rebounds and assists a game. 

Perhaps the greatest miss of the summer wasn’t Burke or Iguodala or even passing on my coveted Jeff Teague.

It’s that Denver’s GM, Masai Ujiri, who constructed a team just how the Pistons needed to be built – sum of the parts… – was out with the Nuggets and he opted to go back to his previous destination in Toronto, to become the Raptors GM. The deal was $15 million over 5 years. That’s slightly more than Will Bynum is making this year. 

Ujiri wanted to back ‘home’ and the deal was done in late May. 

I just can’t fathom how a guy who is worth billions of dollars completely ignored the possibility of swiping away a man who knows exactly how to erect an team in a not-so-desirable NBA city. 

The Raptors, who’ve gone 10-5 since dumping their ‘Josh Smith’, Rudy Gay, will probably be the 4 seed in the East.

Dumars deserves blame. But who’s more incompetent? The man being incompetent, or the man who won’t fire the guy being incompetent. 

New QB For Cincy.

As much as the Eagles/Saints doing their best to constrict each other’s offensive strengths, while still putting up 50 points, was more my type of contest, it’s difficult to gripe about the quality of NFL action this weekend. 

Really, the only element that kept us from a perfectly exciting quartet of games was another early January Wild Card round of misfires by Andy Dalton. The third year QB can tout three straight playoff Bengal playoff appearances, which is unprecedented to think of for anyone under 30. Dalton’s also helped engineer three straight playoff wins…for the opponent. Dalton’s the owner of 1 TD pass and 6 INTs in the playoffs. His 67 QB rating against San Diego is actually his best showing to date. SEE, HE’S IMPROVING! By the time we elect a 45h President, Dalton should have ramped himself up to ‘quality playoff performer!’

Fire Marvin Lewis? That would be a present to any of the teams currently seeking a new head coach. Lewis being the Bengals HC for so long isn’t a Ford-sian misstep by Cincy management, under Lewis that team has returned to relevance upon his arrival. 

Attempt to improve the QB situation? That’s the fulcrum of Cincinnati’s offseason blue print. 

As teams evaluate Jay Gruden as a head coach, their interest and intentions could help the Bengals in deciding whether Gruden has helped max out Dalton’s modest given gifts and skills, or if Gruden’s instructions and guidance are actually restricting Dalton from reaching greater heights. 

Personally, I was surprised he was drafted as highly as he was by the Bengals in ’11, and I even more stunned that Dalton performed so unexpectedly well as a rookie.

We saw yet again this weekend, that team’s fortunes are always tied to the QB. The Bengals have plenty of talent on their roster – talent other teams surely crave – but against playoff competition, often even the most talented of teams can’t escape the sharpest nail that can be driven into a coffin; multiple turnover games by the QB. 

Shockingly, the Bengals probably aren’t going to be able to pull a more talented franchise QB out of thin air. 

Not that I’d think Dalton would need any more motivation than how unmerciful Bengals fans are directing rage towards him now, but perhaps they select a rather humble project-type QB in the mid-rounds of the draft this year. A name like Zach Mettenberger, or Aaron Murray. Both of whom have had success in the SEC, and both are coming off knee injuries that’ll hinder their draft stock. If not those two, then possibly David Fales of San Jose State, who early in the season was mentionded with the likes of Manziel, Mariota, Bridgewater. Fales’ team won six games, missed a bowl and it’s been a deafening silence surrounding him as other candidates like Blake Bortles have emerged. 

What about the veteran route, hoping the Bengals can lift up a rock and polish up a tarnished gem as the Cardinals did with the ending days of Kurt Warner?

Here’s your list of 2014 free agent quarterbacks.

Is Josh McCown for real or a product of Marc Trestman mysticism? Will he remain a bear backup, or just retire?

Matt Schaub? He’s gonna get the boot from Houston for the same reason Cincy would want a new QB.

Mark Sanchez? Don’t laugh. I think it’s fairly difficult to evaluate just how good of a player Sanchez is because of the cesspool of chaos he’s been subjected to within the mismanaged Jets organization. 

Even before conjuring up any of these players, the one former Pro Bowler who could make a difference in January for the Bengals that jumped to mind is Michael Vick. I’ve followed the Eagles long enough to know that I don’t trust Vick to stay healthy, and when he is capable of staying on the field, you get one of two Vick’s. The highlight reel Vick who still can rocket balls to receivers, and create the occasional magic on the run or the lowlight reel Vick who’s incapable of not turning the ball over repeatedly. 

However, without a trade for someone elsess young backup who can’t crack a lineup (Kirk Cousins?) that comes with its own risk, there’s not going to be a QB available that has the upside, and the ability to shine in the playoffs (if he’s not broken in half after how many ever games he plays) like Vick. 

My Choice For Lions HC + One ‘Why Not (ask)?’

Caldwell, Zimmer, Roman, Whisenhunt, and Jay Gruden seem to be the names most connected with the Lions. At this point, Whisenhunt and Caldwell moreso than the rest. Unless you wanna go pie in the sky with Tony Dungy interest based on his comments about the Lions being the best coaching gig available, which may have been a way to somehow connect Caldwell with the job, just as he appointed Caldwell his successor in Indy. 

By the way, I never got to the two I’m most inclined to. But first let’s state the obvious that so many seem to be completely ignoring. As outsiders we can watch college games and other NFL teams and have a more informed and articulate opinion about who we’d like our time to draft or acquire. 

With coaches, our evaluations that form our opinions and wants are not so clear. In fact, with many coaches simply speaking coach-speak, we’re practically in a fog. 

As fans, maybe we ‘know’ a coach and form an opinion on MAYBE 20% of who and what he really is. Without beat writers and columnists having access to meetings, film sessions, weight rooms, and how practices have been closed off more over the years, journalists have MAYBE a 40 or 50% read on who is guy, and what is strengths and weaknesses are, 

Basically, similar to a draft pick, we won’t know for some time if the Lions picked the ‘right’ guy or made the ‘right’ choice. Though the wrong choice may be apparent nearly immediately. 

Whoever they choose to be their next head coach won’t be ‘right’ just because he’s the person that you’d hoped they’d select. Even if he is, we won’t know for some time. 

Also, dampen your expectations. Don’t hope for the guy that’ll help the Lions to the Super Bowl. That’s a sure path for a letdown. The next coach the Lions hire should be able to assure that the Lions are competitive team annually. Born out of that continual success hopefully could be a Super Bowl. Though not always. That’s why Andy Reid is no longer the Philadelphia Eagles head coach. 

Now that the boundaries and expectations have been established, my preference for the Lions next head coach is the Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Greg Roman would be my other interest, but after reading he’d walk across the country for the Penn State job, being an NFL head coach may not be best suited for Roman.

Zimmer overcame the harrowing situation of having his wife die suddenly in October of 2009. Just days after the tragedy, he was back coaching the Bengals with more emotional and moral support than any man in that situation could desire. He is beloved by those he works with and leads. 

Not to say there aren’t those who haven’t overcome more in their lives, but with the way Zimmer handled it with such aplomb, I have to count that as a positive trait when tallying up what makes for a successful NFL head coach. 

A couple other quick notes that have drawn me to Zimmer.

Since becoming DC in Cincy in 2008, Zimmer’s defenses have placed around 11th annually in points allowed. 

The last three years they’ve been 5th, 8th and 9th in ’11.

Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict was a sure first round pick beginning the 2011 season at Arizona State. After numerous behavioral problems he went undrafted in 2012. Under Zimmer, Burfict’s reputation and play have been galvanized. He had 171 tackles, 3 sacks, 8 TFLs, 8 passes defensed, 1 INT, 1 TD and basically a muffin-topped stat sheet. 

Amid Andy Dalton’s turnover-fest yesterday, Zimmer’s defense performed as well as they could considering the circumstances Dalton’s miscues put them in. 

During the Bengals 9th game against Miami, Geno Atkins, their all-everything interior defensive lineman, was lost for the year. Zimmer’s defense was unwavering allowing just under 20 points per game in the final 7 games in which the Bengals finished out 5-2. 

When’s the last time you heard about trouble and mischief surrounding Pacman Jones?Adam Jones was an integral, and well behaved, part of the Cincy defense this year. More in the register casting Zimmer as someone who truly can thrive amid adversity, as opposed to it just being some inane platitude tossed around like the in-game cliche it’s become. 

Wait, is there’s all this, why isn’t Zimmer a head coach yet?

He’s too honest

The Dolphins didn’t like his candor…yes, the organization where apparently the school bully was more in charge than anyone else. With a GM, Jeff Ireland, people are shocked remains on the job. 

Zimmer also called Bobby Petrino a gutless bastard for riding off in the middle of the night to escape the Michael Vick situation with the Falcons. 

Zimmer’s worked through and lived beyond a tragedy to be wished on the worst of people on this planet, he’s handled problem child players and he’s willing to be blunt?

With the right QB mentor to work with Stafford as OC, or QB coach, Zimmer could be the RIGHT man to lead the Lions back to being a playoff contender, and beyond, every year. 

HOWEVER. 

If you’re steadfast on the Lions hiring a coach primarily with an offensive background, I want to suggest a name that hasn’t been brought up yet, though maybe he should be considered after what we witnessed Saturday night. 

Why not Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton?

Just one year on the job with the Colts, taking over after Bruce Arians departure for Arizona, the entire philosophy of the Colts attack was transformed away from Arians’ bombs away, down the field approach, to Hamilton more conservative, and traditional West Coast offensive attack. 

Hamilton was a QB at Howard, coached there, then begin an ascent through the NFL coaching ranks before leaving his role as Bears QB coach after ’09 to coach WRs under Harbaugh in ’10, then QB/WR coach under Shaw for two years, and then the enormous leap to once again leading his former pupil Andrew Luck.

With Luck on the precipice of being the game’s preeminent quarterback, I can see why Hamilton could be completely content in his role as the Colts OC. Especially if he’s as bright as I think he is, he may want another year in his role, before he knows he’s prepared to be an NFL head coach. Until then, teams thoroughly prospecting for head coaches would be wise to probe Hamilton’s interest in a promotion and his acumen that may well deserve it. 

Whisenhunt Questions Need Answers

Accuse of me being the most Satanic devil’s advocate ever. 

Tell me I’m using the Hubble to fry an ant (a coach). 

But I think I’m more right than wrong in my quest to show you that Ken Whisenhunt should not be the Lions breakaway leader for their open head coaching position.

If I’m using a telescope to vaporize Whisenhunt, the Lions should be using it to scour the ends of the earth for the best person to be their next CEO of Sundays. If the Lions’ brass botches, I would think sports fanatical Detroiters buying Fords would be in question in the future.

If they’re apprehensive to hiring an assistant without NFL head coaching experience, astute as that person may be, then really the front office should’ve fired itself. It’s the fault of those executives (Millen) that the Morhinweg’s and Marinelli’s never panned out. Geez, give yourselves a slap on the back for getting a passing grade on the Schwartz hiring though!

By supposedly being truly uninterested in hiring a first-timer, the Lions are potentially preventing themselves from hiring a Mike McCoy. 

Want an even more impressive hire from the non-retread ranks? Chuck Pagano. Who was a defensive coordinator for ONE year with Baltimore before heading to Indianapolis.

Because they haven’t hit a coaching home run before – and lots of other recent questionable decisions – the Lions are right to doubt their skill to uncover a Mike Tomlin, who like Pagano was a DC for ONE year in Minnesota nor was he EVER a head coach before Pittsburgh thoroughly vetted him and decided he was the right man to succeed Bill Cowher. Again, fire yourselves, or find someone to help you through the process. They can’t afford to keep bumbling through the prime’s of Stafford, Suh and Johnson. 

Being thorough and meticulous isn’t interviewing Mike Munchak. With a 22-26 record in Tennessee is he REALLY the man who can change the culture (their words) AND be a championship head coach? I think from afar we all confidently say NO. 

With the Lions trying to find their man, no one will, or should, accuse them of trying to be too foreward thinking or outside of the box. Smash the box. That’s why they need to strain all sorts of CL’s to kick the tires of someone like John Pagano in San Diego, Ben McAdoo in Green Bay, Adam Gase in Denver, and I assure you that no one will censure you for leaking some public interest in Andrew Luck’s offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton. Andrew Luck’s almost hand picked position coach, nahhhhh, who’d want that!?

I couldn’t convince you and you’re still set on Whisenhunt. 

OK, give me just a few more moments. 

Did Whisenhunt keep Ryan Mathews healthy for 16 games so he could churn out 1200 rushing yards? 

Did Whisenhunt campaign for the Danny Woodhead addition so that he could put up a thousand total yards, and finally fill the vacated Darren Sproles role of 76 catches?

Did he convince the war room to take Cal’s Keenan Allen to replace the production they lost when Vincent Jackson bolted for Tampa (Robert Meachem was a BUST), so that Antonio Gates could once again find room operate (from 49 to 77 catches this year)?

Did HE revitalize Philip Rivers, or did his head coach, former Broncos OC Mike McCoy play a larger role in that. 

Extra Credit: With Carson Freakin’ Palmer and his spaghetti for elbow ligaments did Whisenhunt get Arizona to a 10-6 record in the toughest division in the NFL?

Except for the last the answers at best are foggy, but they’re questions that need to be asked. 

Do a quick Google of Matt Leinart Ken Whisenhunt and you’re not going to like what you unearth. 

From Bill Barnwell at Grantland from back in November of 2011. These are pasted from the column, so please read it for context. Then smash your wishes of Whisenhunt in Detroit. Please. 

Leinart started the 2007 season as the team’s starting quarterback with shaky numbers — 60-of-112 for 647 yards with two touchdowns and four picks — and Whisenhunt temporarily benched him for Warner. The situation resolved itself when Leinart broke his collarbone and missed the remainder of the season. In his stead, Warner was unsurprisingly brilliant, completing 62.3 percent of his passes and averaging 7.6 yards per attempt.

In 2008, the situation came to a head in training camp. When faced with a decision between a Hall of Fame quarterback and a developing young one, Whisenhunt made the only wise decision he’s ever made with quarterbacks: He chose the Hall of Famer. 

When Warner retired after the 2009 season, Leinart was seen as the starter-in-waiting. The team brought in former Browns colossus Derek Anderson to compete, even as Anderson was coming off of a season in which he completed just 44.5 percent of his passes and threw an interception every 18 passes.

Anderson was arguably the worst opening-day starter in football, and the team bounced between him and rookies Max Hall and John Navarre Skelton throughout the season. Each rated among the worst quarterbacks in football. The following year, Whisenhunt traded for Kevin Kolb. Kolb was, not coincidentally, one of the worst quarterbacks in football this season before suffering an injury. Whisenhunt is the primary reason Matt Leinart is considered a bust, and over the course of his career as Cardinals coach, Whisenhunt has shown virtually no ability to pick the right starting quarterback for his team.