It was the right decision at the right time, and now all that’s left is to figure out is who will lead the Arizona Cardinals next season.
On one of - if not the cruelest - Black Monday’s I can remember, neither head coach Ken Whisenhunt, nor general manager Rod Graves were spared the axe. It would appear as though Bidwell had finally had enough of the “haven’t found a quarterback since Warner” excuse, and rightfully so. Franchise quarterbacks don’t just land on your laps, but at this point I’m sure Cardinals fans would have even settled for an average one.
Since Whisenhunt was incapable of drafting and grooming a quarterback, and Graves has proven himself to be incapable of infusing this offense with talent at any other position than wide receiver it’s probably best they go elsewhere.
Now, for the more delicate and complicated task of replacing Whisenhunt. The Cardinals are holding interviews for Ray Horton, Andy Reid, and Mike McCoy (in that order too I think?), and rumours have already got out suggesting that Reid is likely to get the job. Nothing against Reid, but he isn’t the right guy. Not to take away from what Andy Reid was able to accomplish back in the Eagles glory days, but he was always surrounded with immense amounts of talent and still didn’t finish the job. You could make the case for bringing Reid in as a means of raising Kolb’s level of play, but only if you don’t take into account things like statistics. Hate to be the one that breaks the news, but Kolb’s numbers with the Eagles were actually about the same as they’ve been with the Cardinals.
An intriguing option, at best, but still not the right one, I’m hoping the Cardinals take a pass on Mike McCoy as well. Much has been made of his run in Denver, where he made Orton look good, Tebow look useful and Manning look like a god, but I have a hard time seeing him be as successful, or even close in Arizona. The Cardinals are lacking in so many departments offensively, and have so far to go before they’re competitive it’s unreal. Rebuilding this franchise, or at the very least it’s offense, is going to be a 3 to 5 years process, and do you really trust that in the hands of somebody getting their first gig as head coach? Seems like a risk not worth taking with somebody the organizations never even dealt with before. Nothing against McCoy, but he’s probably better suited for a team with more stability at the quarterback position, or one that’s on the cusp of contending.
With neither McCoy nor Reid tickling me fancy, that leaves only Ray Horton. The former cornerback, and assistant coach for the Skins, Bengals, Lions and Steelers has what it takes, and should be rewarded justly. A brilliant football mind, Horton’s career as both a coach and player lend themselves to a highly intelligent man who’s used to winning. He won 2 Super Bowl’s with the Steelers, and played in 2 with the Cowboys. Since taking over the reins at defensive coordinator in 2011 he has turned the Cardinals defense into one of the league’s best, and has earned the respect of his players and peers in the process.
An early sign of recognition for his football intellect, Norv Turner even entertained the thought of having Ray Horton on his coaching staff, when he finished his playing career. They gained a mutual respect, and liking for each other while they were both in Dallas for the glory days. Don’t want to look too far into that but, assuming Turner and Horton still have some sort of connection is it entirely out of the realm of possibility that Horton brings Turner in as the offensive coordinator? He may be a horrible, atrocious, god awful, most of the time baffling head coach, but Norv Turner as the Cardinals offensive coordinator, is a thought I could get used to.
All speculation at this point, but even with the Andy Reid rumours, I like Horton’s chances to land the job. He’s worked his way through the ranks, and will be a head coach somewhere next league. One can only hope it’s with the the Cardinals.