Here's the final New Coach Preview for this season. Later on I'll be reviewing last season's new coaches to see what I can learn from their rookie seasons.
Ken Whisenhunt - Arizona Cardinals
1995 - Special Teams/TE Coach, Vanderbilt
1997 - TE Coach, Baltimore Ravens
1999 - TE Coach, Cleveland Browns
2000 - TE Coach, NY Jets
2001 - TE Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers
2004 - Off Coord, Pittsburgh Steelers
2007 - Head Coach, Arizona Cardinals
Impact: The Cardinals should at least have a good group of tight ends, huh? While Leonard Pope isn't Tony Gonzalez just yet, Whisenhunt's guidance should lead to some significant improvement. Whisenhunt should also improve the overall blocking of the Cardinals, as that was a focus of his in Pittsburgh and currently a huge problem in Arizona. His time as Offensive Coordinator with the Steelers gives some idea of what we should expect with the Cardinals. First, a dominating ground game - Arizona has the stud RB in Edgerrin James so that piece is there but the offensive line is a shambles. First round pick Levi Brown will help out there. Second, a conservative passing game that isn't afraid to occasionally go deep. In the Steelers' 2006 Championship season, they finished only 24th in passing yards per game but Hines Ward was 2nd in the league with 11 receiving TDs. Expect the Cardinals to simplify Leinart's offense while letting him occasionally gun it deep to Fitzgerald and Boldin to keep the defenses honest.
Fantasy Summary: Expect Edge to show some improvement as the blocking improves. Keep an eye out for the Cardinals to use the fullback this year; he could be a TD vulture at the goal line. Watch Leonard Pope this summer as he develops into a top ten tight end. On the passing front this won't be a high-powered offense so don't go overboard with Leinart's potential. Look for him to develop similar to the way Roethlisberger has developed. He should be a decent fantasy starter this year with both fantastic and horrible games. Expect about the same for Fitzgerald and Boldin; slightly fewer receiving yards, the same or slightly more touchdowns.