Can Cards duo replace Haley as O-coordinator?

After settling on Bill Davis as defensive coordinator, the Arizona Cardinals filled their vacant offensive coordinator position on Wednesday. The duties will be shared by offensive line coach Russ Grimm and wide receivers coach Mike Miller. Grimm will focus on the run game while Miller will handle the pass game. Brad Wilbricht predicts how the move will affect the Cardinals offense in 2009.

A coaching staff in limbo earlier this week has been all but finalized with the addition of co-offensive coordinators. Offensive line coach Russ Grimm will take over as running game coordinator while wide receivers coach Mike Miller will be the passing game coordinator. With uncertainty arising after the defection of Todd Haley, the move stabilizes the Cardinals' offense and should allow the team to employ a similar mentality that they have over the past two seasons.

As he did in 2007, head coach Ken Whisenhunt will resume his play calling duties after relinquishing them last year. Whisenhunt hopes to groom Miller to eventually take over in the future, much like he did with Haley. Given the success the Arizona offense experienced under Haley, now head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, the method has certainly been proven to work. Regardless of who's calling the plays, Grimm and Miller have had an impact on the game plan and that trend will continue going forward.

With Grimm focusing solely on the running game, the Cardinals' rushing attack could be in store for a major resurgence. Arizona managed a league-worst 74 yards per game on the ground last year and averaged a mere 3.5 yards per carry. Grimm's task of improving the Cardinals' running game will go hand in hand with his continued efforts along the offensive line.

Veteran RB Edgerrin James' return to the desert is doubtful and one of Grimm's first items to address will be adding another capable runner through the draft or free agency. RB Tim Hightower showed extreme promise during his rookie season but is unlikely to carry a full-time load next year. RB J.J. Arrington finally proved his worth as a change of pace back after experiencing three disappointing seasons in Arizona.

If the Cardinals secure a free-agent running back, New York Giants RB Derrick Ward could be an option. With the Giants applying the franchise tag to RB Brandon Jacobs and already with backup RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Ward will soon be departing from New York. If Arizona is willing to utilize a first-day pick in the upcoming draft, Pittsburgh RB LeSean McCoy or Shonn Greene from Iowa are two possible targets.


Kurt Warner
(Getty)

Miller's appointment as the passing game coordinator should bode well for the return of QB Kurt Warner. As wide receivers coach, Miller was already intimately involved with the Cardinals' game planning. In addition, his familiarity with Arizona's tremendous wide receiving corps should allow for a seamless transition on the offensive side of the ball. Miller will look to build on last year's success where they ranked second in the NFL in passing, averaging 292 yards per game through the air.

Replacing Miller as wide receivers coach will be former Rutgers offensive coordinator John McNulty. McNulty spent five seasons with the Scarlet Knights and has previous ties to the NFL. He was an assistant coach for six years, including stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. Matt Raich will take over as linebackers coach, leaving Arizona with only the offensive and defensive quality control positions to fill.

After losing both coordinators following a Super Bowl berth, Arizona had the luxury of filling the openings from within its current coaching staff. This allows the Cardinals' coaches to pick up right where they left off and continue to build on the foundation that has been set.


Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com

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