The Detroit Lions continue their scavenger hunt for a head coach.
The Lions’ quest started recently as they axed coach Jim Schwartz, denying him a sixth season. Schwartz did a noble thing, taking a head coaching position for a team that went 0-16 and turning them into something respectable.
He couldn’t get over the hump; it’s time to pass the reins of the sleigh elsewhere.
Ken Whisenhunt, former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and current offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers, would be the defining piece to a puzzle ready to win.
The Lions don’t need a guy like Bill Belichick fronting the media next season. They have enough talent that would be serviceable to a good coach.
Whisenhunt turned the Cardinals into winners, almost winning a Super Bowl with them. He is the surgeon credited with reviving quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Phillip Rivers’ careers.
His career with the Cardinals wasn’t over 500, mainly caused from not having a dependable quarterback after Warner, with lack of depth at other positions. Whisenhunt did have two division championships with Arizona; it’d be nice for him to bring some to Detroit since their last one was over two decades ago.
The Lions have enough in place on both offense and defense for a coach like Whisenhunt to capitalize on. Detroit has a better offensive and defensive line than what Arizona had. Their biggest piece in place is franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford–something Whisenhunt would adore.
Stafford has the capabilities to be a top-10 quarterback. He has all of the ingredients – the smarts, arm strength, and work ethic to emerge as a potent threat behind center.
Stafford has been on downward spiral the past two seasons, which greatly accounts for Detroit’s drought of success. He was a turnover machine in 2013, throwing 12 interceptions with seven fumbles over Detroit’s abysmal 1-6 finale. Stafford had a glossy 97.2 rating in his magical 2011 season. Since then, he hasn’t held a rating higher than 85.
It doesn’t matter who the coach is, if Stafford can’t return to the special 2011 form he teased the NFL with, Detroit remains stuck in mediocrity with the “same old Lions” stigma hovering Ford Field. It’s a quarterback driven league in today’s NFL. Teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns who have much in place without a quarterback will tell that.
Rivers, similar to Stafford, is a talented quarterback, but struggled his past few seasons. With Whisenhunt as his offensive coordinator, he boasts a glistening 105.5 rating, as he failed to reach 90 the previous two seasons. He’s thrown just 11 interceptions as the Chargers’ offense is soaring into explosiveness, ranking in the top-five.
Detroit has that exact ability with Stafford and its pieces in place. It craves someone who can string it all together. Whisenhunt is experienced and surely has learned even more while working with San Diego’s current head coach Mike McCoy. Whisenhunt would be able to utilize what’s already in place, and more importantly would fix Detroit’s future–Stafford, turning the Lions into something special.