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Old 02-25-2007, 11:51 PM   #1
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Default Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, February 26, 2007

Interesting.

Former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt passed on the opportunity to take the high road when discussing the 2006 performance of his prized pupil, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Whisenhunt, now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, told members of the national media assembled at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that the Steelers rushed Roethlisberger into the lineup too quickly following his near-fatal motorcycle accident and subsequent emergency appendectomy.

Whisenhunt said that the Steelers' coaching staff miscalculated Roethlisberger's readiness to play, even when his poor decision-making and "trauma" in the pocket became painfully obvious.

Whisenhunt said a mouthful.

Although Whisenhunt spoke with no malice, his words did the Steelers, and Roethlisberger, more harm than good.

Expect Roethlisberger and some of his teammates to be asked about Ben's play last season. Also expect a lot of tight-lipped answers to annoying questions, questions that probably wouldn't have been asked before Whisenhunt opened a football Pandora's box.

Truth be told, Whisenhunt could have easily passed on opening old wounds. He no longer works for the Steelers. He could have said, "I coach the Arizona Cardinals. What's in the past is ancient history."

Most coaches in Whisenhunt's position would have sidestepped the issue. Political correctness, you know.

That Whisenhunt felt compelled to openly discuss Roethlisberger's struggles when former head coach Bill Cowher went out of his way not to target Roethlisberger's poor play as a major reason for the Steelers' 8-8 record a year after winning Super Bowl XL leads to speculation about the motivation for Whisenhunt's commentary.

Cowher, in fact, diverted attention from Roethlisberger's performance contributing to the Steelers' .500 season when he didn't start cornerback Ike Taylor for five games.

Was Whisenhunt's response a subtle form of payback for not getting the Steelers' job that went to Mike Tomlin?

Maybe Whisenhunt was simply blowing off steam, maybe he was honestly answering questions about the star quarterback on his former team, and maybe he was getting the Steelers out of his system once and for all.

Whisenhunt didn't exactly toss Roethlisberger under the bus, but he didn't endear himself to Ben, either.

Just the fact that Whisenhunt finally said publicly what many people believed privately to be true about Roethlisberger's season indicates that perhaps the relationship between Cowher, Roethlisberger and Whisenhunt wasn't all that great to begin with.

After all, would Whisenhunt have been so candid if he was the Steelers' new coach and was still working closely with Ben? Not if Whisenhunt wanted to risk losing the trust and confidence of his quarterback.

Whisenhunt was a key member of the Steelers' trusted inner circle under Cowher who decided to not let bygones be bygones. It's doubtful that Roethlisberger, or the Steelers, will ever look at Whisenhunt the same way again.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_494969.html
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

I had no issues with what Whiz said. He only stated the obvious. This, of course, is the media making something out of nothing.
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Old 02-26-2007, 05:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

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I had no issues with what Whiz said. He only stated the obvious. This, of course, is the media making something out of nothing.
A fine example of the media trying to make news.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

Exactly. I have no doubt that Whiz said some things, but they probably weren't as scathing as the media is making it out to be.

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Old 02-26-2007, 07:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

I actually thought Whiz was throwing Ben a bone by saying Ben tried to tough it out and agree the writer is just trying to stir the pot.

The issue Harris declined to raise is whether Whiz argued Ben should sit for the Jax or Oakland games and was overruled - that actually could be relevant to why Whiz was not recommended for the HC job by Cowher.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

Whiz was painting a rosey picture for Ben's problems last year. I don't see this as anything that can sting. It stings Cowher, but who cares, he isn't here anymore
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

Mountains out of molehills.
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

Coudn't agree more.
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

Quote:
Originally Posted by klick81 View Post
I had no issues with what Whiz said. He only stated the obvious. This, of course, is the media making something out of nothing.
Exactly, klick. He came right out and said what most of us (and I'm sure the Steelers at some point) already suspected - no harm done, imho.
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: Whisenhunt's comments could sting Steelers

I can't help but respectfully disagree. I think the writer is right. Is it a big deal? NO. Is it unprofessional? Yes.

Whiz could have and should have simply passed on the question. If he still worked for the Steelers then making comments about players or the coaching staff might be warranted and maybe even refreshingly forthright. I don't know what his exact comments were but critisizing a past employer in front of the national media is in bad taste whether your talking about the NFL, a Fortune 500 company or a ma and pa store down the street. It's a question of integrity....or a lack thereof.

I've never had a reason to dislike Whiz, he even had my unqualified vote for head coach - but if his idea of gaining respect by his franchise is tossing his old one under the bus.....especially when he was an intergral part of the coaching staff and the decisions they made.... than my reservations of him being passed over are quickly deminishing. Based on the very few press conferences I've heard with Tomlin, I already can't imagine him negatively commenting on the Viking management or the "men" that he coached....the man exudes respect with every word.

I've never heard a negative word from Whiz in the past. For him to make them now smacks of bitterness. Maybe, in a show of respect for his head coach and franchise, he felt he should refrain from making negative public comments during his time with the Steelers. All the more reason he should strive to avoid them now.

Like the writer said, we can now look forward to Ben being endlessly questioned about whether or not he was ready to play. My only hope is that Whiz enjoys similar type questioning regarding his lack of influence in major decisions during his tenure as offensive coordinator....such as whether the starting quarterback is of sound mind to play.

Just my opinion.
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