Arizona Cardinals fire Ken Whisenhunt, GM Rod Graves
- By Gregg Rosenthal
- Updated: Dec. 31, 2012 at 01:56 p.m.
It was only four years ago that coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves did the impossible: They led the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance and nearly won.
Now they are both ex-Cardinals.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Whisenhunt and Graves were both fired on Monday. Graves' dismissal does not come as a surprise, but Whisenhunt's future seemed far more uncertain. Ultimately, he paid for not being able to turn around the team's offense or solve its quarterback problem.
Hurting the chances of both men to stick around: There are quality options in place to take their jobs. Steve Keim is expected to be a popular candidate for GM jobs around the league, according to NFL.com's Albert Breer. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton also figures to get interviewed elsewhere if the Cardinals don't hire him. The Bidwill family also thinks highly of Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, whom they tried to re-hire last year as an assistant.
Whisenhunt went 45-51 in six seasons in Arizona, leading the team to the playoffs twice as NFC West champions. But his teams struggled to a combined 18-30 record over the last three years after Kurt Warner retired. Both Graves and Whisenhunt were undone by their aggressive trade for Kevin Kolb, which did nothing to help their post-Warner quarterback blues.
This is not a barren Cardinals roster. There is plenty of talent here, especially on the defensive side. It should be an attractive job for potential candidates despite the franchise's long history of struggle.
Whisenhunt defied that history in his first three seasons, but ultimately he went out like all the other Arizona Cardinals coaches.