By: Jeff Riger
It’s so typical!
It seemed fans were on board to have Ken Whisenhunt as the next head coach of the Detroit Lions.
Of course Whisenhunt choose the Titans, which once again left Lions asking themselves — why bother?
So why did “Whiz” choose Tennessee over Detroit? There are many theories and some of them make perfect sense.
People say the AFC South is easier than the NFC North and I guess I would buy that. Tennessee gets to play the lowly Jaguars 2 times a season and who knows if Houston will rebound anytime soon. The only real competition in the division is the Colts. In the North, Whisenhunt would have to deal with the Packers and Bears, both teams that are playoff caliber. Heck, even the Viking’s could be a force some seasons.
Another reason that Whisenhunt might have chosen the Titans could be all defensive for the offensive coach. Rumor has it Whisenhunt told the Lions he wanted to run a 3-4 defense and Lions GM Martin Mayhew would not allow it. If true, I could see why Whisenhunt would go elsewhere. From what I know about “Whiz,” he’s very regimented and stuck in his ways and if a decision about something as big as a defensive scheme is already a sticking point, it’s totally understandable that he would sour on Detroit.
Of course there is the monetary factor too…
There is a chance that the Titans just paid Whisenhunt way more than the Lions or any other team would. If that’s the case, nobody could blame the former Charger OC for deciding on the Titans. Anybody would!
It could also be as simple as Whisenhunt just liking Tennessee more than Detroit.
But here is what I choose to believe…
Whisenhunt not choosing Detroit speaks volumes about Matthew Stafford.
It’s no secret that quarterbacks rule the NFL. If you got a good one, you’ll win, if you don’t you’re screwed. Sure, other things play a factor in game outcomes but the signal caller is the biggest. Whisenhunt is thought of as a “QB fixer.” He helped mold Ben Roethlisberger when he was in Pittsburgh and he fixed Kurt Warner in Arizona and Phillip Rivers in San Diego. The hope was that he could do the same for Stafford. That’s really the only reason anybody wanted him to take the job with the Lions.
If he thought he could help #9 he would have chosen Detroit but he didn’t! What does that tell you?
Franchise QB’s are extremely difficult to come by and Whisenhunt passing up the Lions says to me that Stafford is anything but. Whether it’s the turnovers, mechanics, work ethic or attitude, if Whisenhunt believed Stafford was the full package he would be having a press conference in Allen Park today. Having an elite QB is the quickest and easiest way to win and it also gives a coach the luxury of time to focus on team problems while the QB is covering them up.
The fact that Stafford is stuck in Detroit for four more seasons and is getting paid a hefty sum to play here was no doubt a factor as well. Why would Whisenhunt want to team with Stafford if he doesn’t believe in him? He’ll be forced to play him? In Tennessee, the team can easily just not pick up Jake Locker’s option and Whisenhunt could draft whatever QB he sees fit. He could help mold a young QB with a blank slate rather than being tied to Stafford.
I don’t know for a fact that Stafford is the reason Whisenhunt decided not to come to Detroit, but I’m betting it had a lot to do with it!
The Lions coaching job was thought to be the most appealing out there mostly because of the upside of Stafford. But if the Detroit agreed “QB guru” passed on the Lions because of Stafford than the Honolulu Blue and Silver have much bigger problems than just finding a new head coach.
What do you think?