On Black Monday, the Detroit Lions let go of head coach Jim Schwartz after losing six of their last seven games of the 2013 campaign and missing the playoffs after once holding the lead in the NFC North. Now, the search begins for a new head coach and, according to GM Martin Mayhew, Detroit knows exactly what kind of coach they would like to hire.
After Mayhew and the ownership expressed the desire for the next head coach to have previous head-coaching experience, that narrowed the potential list significantly. Many teams will likely wind up going the route of a lifelong coordinator, giving someone their first shot at a head coaching gig. Not the Lions, though. They know what they want.
One of the names connected with the Lions’ job already has been current San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, the former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. In 2013, Whisenhunt has done wonders with Philip Rivers and made him an even better quarterback than he was prior to 2013. In a season where the Chargers endured some key injuries on offense, Rivers never once blinked and continued his incredible play no matter who he was throwing the ball to.
“I think the one thing I appreciate – and I could have a long list – is his steadiness,” Rivers said of Whisenhunt, according to Eric D. Williams from ESPN.com. “He’s intense. He loves ball, but his steadiness and consistency in his approach every day. When we lost and had a tough stretch, he didn’t get all in a panic. He just said, ‘Stay with it.’ And I think that rubs off on the guys. And it’s been fun working with him.”
With a very talented, yet still young and flawed quarterback in Matthew Stafford, Whisenhunt could be the right guy to make him the quarterback he’s had the potential to be. Stafford has already had himself a 41-touchdown season a couple of years ago, but Whisenhunt may be the guy to get Stafford there again while eliminating some bad mechanical habits.
While the Lions cannot interview Whisenhunt just yet, the feeling is that Detroit will reach out immediately after they get the green light. For now, Whisenhunt and his Chargers are focused on a postseason run that came by way of what they are calling “fate.”