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Stability Within The Staff

Unlike last offseason, few changes with Cards' coaches


Coach Ken Whisenhunt has his staff mostly intact as the Cards move toward the 2010 season after big changes last offseason.
A year ago at this time, the Cardinals' coaches – the ones that were left – were on their way to Indianapolis for the scouting combine just as head coach Ken Whisenhunt was piecing his staff back together.

After the Super Bowl run, both coordinator spots came open, and Whisenhunt had to juggle his assistants around in the middle of prepping for Indy.

This year, the trip to Indianapolis – which begins Wednesday when the offensive assistants leave Tempe – is different.

Defensive coordinator Bill Davis remains in place, as does the offensive coordinator marriage between Whisenhunt (play calling), Russ Grimm (run game) and Mike Miller (pass game). The stability provides good memories to Whisenhunt.

"The last time this happened, we had great success," Whisenhunt said, referring to the staff carryover after 2007 to 2008 – leading to the team's Super Bowl run. "Hopefully it will be the same, with the exception of 37 seconds."
Last year, not only did the Cards promote from within for coordinators, they also added a new quarterback coach in Chris Miller and a new receivers coach in John McNulty.

The Cardinals had just two staff changes this offseason. Tommie Robinson was hired to coach running backs after Curtis Modkins left to become the Buffalo Bills' offensive coordinator under new head coach Chan Gailey. Donnie Henderson was brought in to coach defensive backs after Teryl Austin took the defensive coordinator job with the University of Florida.

"It's a credit to Teryl and Curtis to get promotions and it is a sign other people see our coaches in a different light and see the quality coaches we have," Whisenhunt said. "That's a tribute to (president) Michael (Bidwill) and the change in allowing us to bring in quality coaches."

Having a steady hand guiding the roster will be crucial. Offensively, the team is transitioning to Matt Leinart at quarterback after the retirement of Kurt Warner. Defensively, the Cards are trying to get younger in a few spots, a move that could be accelerated by the possible free-agent departure of linebacker Karlos Dansby and the possible release of safety Antrel Rolle due to contract issues.

The Cardinals go into the combine seemingly needing to lean toward the defense in the upcoming draft. Most pundits have referred to April's draft class as deeper than usual, in a season in which the Cards could use help in every round.

And if the Cards get some young talent, they seem to have the staff to shape them.

"We didn't have to replace both coordinators, our operation system hasn't changed much and the guys in charge of that are still in place," Whisenhunt said. "When you only have to replace one new coach on either side of the ball, it makes it easier.

"This offseason – with the exception of not having Kurt back and the impending labor situation – we are certainly, from the coaches knowing the players and the players knowing the coaches, in good shape."

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