Instead of revamping the roster that he inherited, Whisenhunt has maximized each player's contributions while adding key newcomers through the draft and free agency. Many new regimes bring in several new faces and cut capable players in hopes of molding their new team to their liking. However, many instances end with unfavorable outcomes as their short lived opportunity is filled with turmoil and inconsistent results.
Whisenhunt and the Cardinals' front office added much needed depth on defense during the past offseason. Rookie CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was selected with the 16th overall pick in the draft, and has made as big as impact as any defensive rookie in the league. With the exception of RB Tim Hightower, the remainder of Arizona's 2008 draft class has been quiet thus far but will be knocking on the door for playing time come next season.
Although he's been slowed by injuries in recent weeks, DE Travis LaBoy has made the biggest impact of last year's free agent signees. He missed the final two games of the regular season and sat out the NFC Wild Card game against the Atlanta Falcons. LaBoy compiled 31 stops and four sacks in his first season in the desert.
Now that Whisenhunt has established an extremely solid foundation, look for him to begin molding the Cardinals' roster starting this offseason. Objective number one will be acquiring more toughness in the trenches as well as installing a successful rushing attack. Whisenhunt's philosophy relies on a consistent running game, evident during his days in Pittsburgh.
Last year Arizona finished 8-8 and they now have a 9-7 season with a playoff victory under their belt. There will be several key questions answered during the upcoming offseason, including luring additional talent to the Valley of the Sun. Regardless of how it plays out, the Cardinals' organization seems to be in good hands with Whisenhunt at the helm.
Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org