Coaching Staff Off-season Analysis

With a .500 finish last season, the first-year coaches on Ken Whisenhunt's staff relied on the adage "it's about the journey." For those moving on to their sophomore seasons, the destination cannot come soon enough.

The Cardinals are not where they want to be, but Whisenhunt thinks they are close. He has relied on old friends to build the Cardinals. Whisenhunt's ties and forward thinking are two of the reasons Arizona's coaching staff will see little to no changes.

Rumors flew fast that Todd Haley would abandon ship for the open Miami job. Haley's ties to Arizona were long enough for him to sign a three-year deal with a considerable raise--one that will pay him in excess of $1 million per year.

Injuries to key players forced the first-year Arizona offensive coordinator to continually tweak the rotation.

"Good coaching is just that, that you have to make some adjustments to the players you have," Haley said. "You just can't force a square peg into a round hole."

Wide receivers coach Mike Miller holds one of the bigger jobs for a team keen on the pass. He battled injuries to his star receivers, but Miller managed to improve the reception totals from a year ago. Arizona moved from No. 10 in passing yards per game (228.9) to No. 5 (254.1).

The better feat for Miller is that the receivers nearly doubled their touchdowns (17 to 30) and upgraded their completion percentage (59.1 percent to 60.3 percent).

Not all of the credit can go to Miller, though. Quarterbacks coach Jeff Rutledge coached Kurt Warner to his best season since 2001 in terms of passer rating (89.8) and yards (3,417).

The Cardinals' passing success made running backs coach Maurice Carthon's job tougher. He struggled to mix in the run with his one prominent back. Carthon's first-year numbers did not reflect the Cardinals' pledge for the ground game.

The Cardinals increased their average rushing yards per game by just 6.4 yards between 2006 and 2007. Arizona decreased its rushing touchdowns by three.

Russ Grimm's offensive line is not to blame for the low rushing numbers. They allowed Edgerrin James to rush for more than 1,200 yards and Warner to pass for more than 3,000. Grimm established notable depth on the line in his first season in the desert.

Arizona may need to plead Grimm to stay, as he has interviewed for head coaching positions in the past. He could be a candidate for the vacancy in Washington--he spent 11 years as a starting guard on the Redskins' renowned "Hogs" offensive line.

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for She has contributed to the official Web sites of several NFL players for Sixthman Communications.

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