Cardinals fire defensive coordinator Davis after struggles

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals fired defensive coordinator Bill Davis, a member of their staff since Ken Whisenhunt became coach in 2007.

Davis is the second defensive coordinator fired by Whisenhunt in his four seasons in Arizona. Clancy Pendergast was dismissed after the team's run to the Super Bowl in the 2008 season.

Davis was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator following Pendergast's dismissal. The team announced Davis' firing Thursday in a two-sentence statement.

The Cardinals were 5-11 and last in the NFC West after winning the division the previous two years. It was the first losing season since Whisenhunt took over.

Davis has been an NFL assistant coach for 19 seasons with eight teams -- in chronological order the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Cardinals.

Arizona went 10-6 in Davis' first season as coordinator a year ago, with the team fifth in the NFL in fewest points allowed. But the Cardinals gave 90 points in two playoff games, and Davis knew the pressure was on this season. The departure of big-play linebacker Karlos Dansby via free agency didn't help.

Arizona wound up 29th out of 32 teams in total defense, 22nd in passing defense and 30th in run defense. Only the Denver Broncos (471) and Dallas Cowboys (436) allowed more points than the Cardinals' 434.

Arizona's offense, which has yet to have any staff changes, was even worse, ranking 31st in total offense, 31st in passing and 32nd in rushing.

Mike Miller is the passing-game coordinator and called an increasing number of plays late in the season. Russ Grimm is running-game coordinator.

Whisenhunt called the plays all of the 2009 season and most of 2010. Todd Haley, now coach of the AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs, was offensive coordinator and called plays for the Super Bowl team.

Whisenhunt said Monday that the plan, as with Haley, was to have Miller call an increasing number of plays. The former offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Whisenhunt said he is considering relinquishing play-calling altogether, but he enjoys that part of his duties.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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