Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt now has his staff set for the 2011 season.
Ken Whisenhunt said he had long planned to promote Mike Miller to offensive coordinator, that he was excited to see what Ray Horton would do at defensive coordinator, that Louie Cioffi had worked hard to get his job as defensive backs coach and that he had always seen new assistant secondary coach Deshea Townsend as a potential coach while Townsend was playing.
Then the Cardinals’ coach said that didn’t necessarily mean anything.
“I can tell you how great of a guy Ray is or the job Mike is going to do or a lot of different things,” Whisenhunt said. “But what it ultimately comes down to is we have to perform better on Sundays than we did last year.”
Whisenhunt is done shuffling his coaching staff following Wednesday’s promotion of Miller. The changes that began back in early January with the dismissal of defensive coordinator Bill Davis are done, after Horton, Cioffi and Townsend were hired.
That puts the staff in place for the upcoming Scouting combine next week and the path to the draft.
Offensively, not much is expected to change even with Miller’s ascension. The final word in the offensive meeting room will belong to Miller, Whisenhunt said, but both he and Miller reiterated the offensive process – both on and off the field – likely wouldn’t change much.
Whisenhunt said he had not yet decided whether Miller would call plays full time, joking at one point that he would call the “good plays” and leave the ones that don’t work to Miller.
“He’s the head coach, so, what do they say? ‘It’s good to be king,’ ” Miller responded.
As for the playcalling, Miller said he would like the duty but called it “an evolving thing.”
Assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm was considered for the coordinator job, Whisenhunt said, but with Grimm’s other duties “it was not time” for Grimm to do it, something Grimm felt as well. Grimm will still have offensive input, both Whisenhunt and Miller said. Whisenhunt also will continue to have a say in the offense. “I will always be involved in that,” Whisenhunt said.
Miller acknowledged having to use three quarterbacks this season – with little consistent success – provided “challenges.”
“But, hey, in this business, no one feels sorry for anybody,” Miller added. “It’s our job to make what we have work.”
That could become more important if there is an extended work stoppage, although Whisenhunt said all the coaches are proceeding now basically as they always would. Video for each player is being broken down to evaluate the roster, while Horton is adapting his scheme to the Cards’ existing defensive terminology, as promised.
Whisenhunt believes Townsend can have a positive effect on the Cards’ younger defensive backs. He said Cioffi – whom Whisenhunt first met many years ago when Whisenhunt interviewed for a job on the Bengals’ staff – will “stabilize” the defensive backs.
It’ll be impossible to know until games are played in the fall, something Whisenhunt understands. But for now, the shuffling is over and the new staff in place.
“When you go through a season like we did,” Whisenhunt said, “there are going to be some changes.”