Whisenhunt's D-Coordinator Carousel Continues

Ken Whisenhunt (Getty)

Coach Ken Whisenhunt is searching for his third defensive coordinator since taking the Cardinals job in 2007.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt is searching for his third defensive coordinator since taking the Cardinals job in 2007.

Just like the two previous times, Whisenhunt might not be able to get the man believed to be his first choice.

Whisenhunt twice has been interested in hiring Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler, a close friend. The Steelers declined to give Whisenhunt permission to interview Butler in 2007, and hip replacement surgery made hiring Butler in 2009 difficult.

What Whisenhunt needs in the position is a strong personality who can clearly communicate his philosophy to players and coaches.

Saying the defensive staff is disjointed is probably an overstatement, but there is no question there were communication problems in 2010. No one provided details, but coaches and players constantly talked about breakdowns in communications and not "being on the same page," a popular, but vague, euphemism for not playing well as a unit.

Clearly, segments of the 2010 defense did not mesh, a big reason Whisenhunt fired Bill Davis, who had been on his staff four years, including the last two as a coordinator.

Whisenhunt typically takes his time on such hires, but openings around the league might force him to move quickly.

It's questionable if the Steelers will grant Butler permission to interview.

He received a new contract last spring after rejecting an offer to become the Dolphins' defensive coordinator. Included was a promise that he would succeed Dick LeBeau as the Steelers' coordinator.

The Cardinals' new defensive coordinator faces a daunting task. While there is some talent on that side of the ball, there are also some big deficiencies. The team doesn't have an elite pass rusher, and the linebacking corps needs to be renovated.

Several of the team's "star" players are coming off disappointing seasons including end Darnell Dockett, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and strong safety Adrian Wilson. Other players took a step backwards instead of progressing, including end Calais Campbell.

Whisenhunt is under pressure to get this hire right after firing Clancy Pendergast after the 2008 season and letting Davis go in January.

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