Will Whisenhunt's Philosophy Pay Off?

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NFL head coaches have different approaches to the preseason. For some, it means playing their starters for an entire half, running specific schemes and stunts and game planning as they would for a regular season game.

This is not Ken Whisenhunt's style.

As he was watching his offensive line get embarrassed, his inconsistent quarterback continue to disappoint and Vince Young slice through his team's secondary, Whisenhunt never lost sight of the big picture.

"We looked like a team that had just broken camp that obviously had its mind on breaking camp instead of playing a game on Monday Night Football," Whisenhunt said. "There were some good things in the tape. There weren't as many mistakes as the first week, so I'd say that's a positive. Still, there were some alignment errors, some missed tackles, our offensive line didn't block as well in the run game as we would have liked."

Ken Whisenhunt

Finding positives from the Tennessee game is seemingly like digging for gold in a coal mine, but it is hard to argue with Whisenhunt's track record. In three years in the desert, the former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator has led Arizona to two straight NFC West titles, a conference championship and no losing seasons. A small miracle considering what the team had done in the decade before his arrival.

While the team may have appeared to be a lost cause over the past couple weeks, there is a method to Whisenhunt's madness. He prefers to let his players play, make their own adjustments and play his cards close to his chest. He does not game plan in the preseason and sticks to basic formations and plays. As a result, teams have less to go on when they face the Big Red when games really count.

But, with this philosophy, games like Tennessee are going to happen. When a team constantly blitzes, stunts and runs plays deep in the playbook, they will dominate against a team that does not. Couple this with the new personnel the Arizona is trying to work into the mix and looking crisp is a tall order at this time of the year.

Whisenhunt's mind isn't on winning in August and it never has been. He's accumulated a preseason record of just 3-11 during his tenure, but he's exceeded expectations in September and beyond compiling a record of 30-23. His focus remains on keeping his players healthy, deciding who survives cuts and getting everyone ready for Week 1 in St. Louis when the games begin to matter.

At the moment, the so-called experts are writing Whisenhunt's team off and are ready to hand San Francisco the NFC West crown. However, the Cardinals and their coach may have everyone fooled. They are working their way through these meaningless games and have shocking the world on their minds once again.

With Whisenhunt at the helm, this team may appear to be a ship of fools, but in reality might be the same sly foxes that we've seen in recent years.

Follow Ryan Knowles on Twitter: @RyKno52

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