While Bruce Arians is a great hire, the way the Arizona Cardinals handled Ray Horton throughout the entire process left a lot to be desired. I don’t need to be sold on Arians. He is a great football mind who has been an assistant for several teams over the course of about twenty years now. What he did with the Indianapolis Colts last season was nothing short of amazing, and he deserves a lot of credit for making that rebuild happen so quickly.
Arians as head coach makes sense for a team that drastically needs to retool this offense and find a franchise quarterback, preferably through the draft. He has no shortage of experience working with great young talent, just look at what he did in his two most recent OC gigs. He made Andrew Luck’s transition from college to the pros seamless, and has made Roethlisberger a guaranteed hall of famer. Sure, it would have been hard to screw up the development of either as they are both so immensely talented, but credit has to be given where credit is due.
When the Cardinals brought him on board though, it didn’t take very long for Horton to jump ship and take his talents to Cleveland. About a day or so. If you’re a Browns fan this is reason to get really excited. If you’re a Cardinals fan, not so much.
It seemed almost a given to just about everybody that Horton would be a head coach next season. It was always a question of where. It became even more likely when Ken Whisenhunt was shown the door. Horton was one of the first candidates they interviewed, and he walked away from the interviews feeling pretty good about his chances; “very confident” I believe, is how he worded it. Can’t blame him, his resume is extensive and the defense he built in Arizona almost speaks for itself.
Than the interviews following Horton’s started mounting. Names like Mike McCoy and Andy Reid were mentioned frequently. Andy Reid would of course pull a syke move on the franchise, and sign with the Chiefs on his way to the Cardinals interview. Mike McCoy was busy with the playoffs at the time. Things were looking good for Horton, but nothing solid materialized. Two weeks passed, and from seemingly out of nowhere Bruce Arians (whose name we probably didn’t hear as a result of his health issues around that time) gets the gig. That left only the Jaguars coachless, and Ray Hortons chance of leading a team all but gone.
Word on the street is that Horton was very upset by the whole ordeal. He felt confident enough in the Cardinals job, that he didn’t have an opportunity to pursue other opportunities as much as he would have liked to had he known the job wouldn’t be his. He is most upset - apparently - by the fact that he was only kept in the loop as an insurance policy. Enough interest in him was shown, and enough was said to give him confidence he might land the job. Then they hired Arians, who now has Todd Bowles working the defense. They gained a great offensive mind, but lost possibly a better defensive one in Horton. Only time will tell if that was the right decision, I just wish they gave him a chance to become a head coach elsewhere.
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