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Cardinals fire Whisenhunt, GM Graves

 
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Three seasons without a playoff appearance was too long for Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves.

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As first reported by ESPN, Whisenhunt and Graves were fired Monday after a 5-11 season marked by only one victory in the final 12 contests.

The dismissal finish marks the end of Whisenhunt's six-year tenure that included the only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history with the 2008 Cardinals. Arizona made the second round of the playoffs the following season but then slid following quarterback Kurt Warner's retirement.

The Cardinals proceeded to field a series of flops at quarterback that included Matt Leinart, Kevin Kolb, Max Hall and John Skelton. Brian Hoyer became the fourth different starting quarterback to start for Arizona this season in last Sunday's 27-13 loss at San Francisco. Poor offensive line play and an anemic running game compounded the team's offensive problems.

Defense is one area where Arizona has excelled for the past 1 ½ seasons, which is why coordinator Ray Horton is considered an internal candidate to replace Whisenhunt. Horton also is considered a strong contender for other head coaching vacancies.

Graves had led Arizona's personnel department since 2003. It's believed that Cardinals vice president of player personnel Steve Keim is a candidate to replace Graves.

Whisenhunt, 50, finished with an overall record of 49-53 with the Cardinals.

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