Demand increases for Whisenhunt

Posted by Mike Florio on January 6, 2014

With five NFL coaching jobs open, one name continues to emerge on the various wish lists: San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

At a minimum, the Lions, Redskins, and Titans are interested in talking to Whisenhunt.

He’s now available to interview, with the blessing of the Chargers. But the Chargers have a game coming up on Sunday at Denver, and there are only so many hours that Whisenhunt can spare from his current job. At some point, the Chargers surely will say, “Enough.”

The former Cardinals coach, who led the team to a Super Bowl in 2008, remains regarded as the favorite to become the next coach of the Lions, the only team with a franchise quarterback in place. And that’s a good thing for Whisenhunt, given that his most success in Arizona came with the franchise quarterback he inherited from the prior regime.

Of course, Whisenhunt first had to realize that Kurt Warner would be a better option than Matt Leinart, a first-round pick the year before Whisenhunt was hired. Once Whisenhunt did, the foundation was in place for the Cardinals to have a couple of solid seasons.

In Detroit, Whisenhunt would be working with a 25-year-old franchise quarterback who has five years of experience. But Matthew Stafford seems to be a reluctant franchise quarterback, unwilling to fully embrace the commitment to mechanics and film study and leadership and doing everything he can do and then some to help his team win. Someone needs to get the most out of Stafford.

For now, the Lions may be willing to entrust that task to the man who worked directly with another franchise quarterback who needed some time and some coaxing to develop into a franchise quarterback — Ben Roethlisberger. Others may want him, too, but not every team that wants to interview Whisenhunt will get a crack at him in the next six days.

If he only interviews with one or two teams, we may know plenty about where Whisenhunt is leaning.