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Process Underway For New Coordinator

Whisenhunt has interviews set up this week


Coach Ken Whisenhunt has commenced his search for a new defensive coordinator.

The process to find a new defensive coordinator is underway for coach Ken Whisenhunt, although at this point, the coach still would not put a timetable on the hire.

A pair of coaches will be interviewed this week, Whisenhunt said. More interviews could take place next week.

"We have some good candidates," Whisenhunt said.

Whisenhunt declined to name the coaches to which he will talk, although it's possible the later interviews mean he is waiting on candidates who are still working in the playoffs. Coaches currently working for teams cannot be interviewed before their season is over.

(UPDATE II: Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter reported that former 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was one of the men scheduled to interview with Whisenhunt this week.)

Multiple reports have Whisenhunt wanting to talk to Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler, whose team remains in the postseason. Butler was someone Whisenhunt previously investigated as a coordinator, and the Cards would need permission to talk to him. The longer Pittsburgh remains in the playoffs however – the Steelers host Baltimore this weekend in the AFC semifinals – the less likely the Cardinals can afford to wait, especially if their early interviewees want to seek other employment.

(UPDATE: The Cardinals might not be able to talk to Butler, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

Then again, Whisenhunt's decision not to talk about a timetable may mean he is willing to wait for someone, regardless.

The Cardinals are trying to right a defense that was 29th in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed. They will need star players like cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, safety Adrian Wilson and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett to dominate more often, and younger players like Calais Campbell and Greg Toler to be more consistent.

Whisenhunt has not said whether a coach's background on scheme impacts the hire, although the Steelers do run a 3-4 look like the Cardinals. It also seems unlikely to make a significant scheme change in an offseason that could be drastically shortened or even lost because of labor problems and a lockout.

Because of the proliferation of the 3-4 league-wide, however, there are several coaches available who have worked recently with the 3-4 as a base defense.

Once the coordinator is hired, there will likely be further evaluation of the remaining defensive staff between the new coach and Whisenhunt.

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