They were the final team to do it, but somehow the Arizona Cardinals still found a good man for their head coaching vacancy. So begins the Bruce Arians era in the desert.
Personally, I had hoped they would pick Ray Horton, as he seemed the best choice out of all the names that were emerging early in the process.
I think the Cardinals probably passed on Horton for Arians for a number of reasons, but I can’t help but think this was primarily done as a means of starting from scratch. No leftovers from the old regime; a complete culture change is underway and maybe it’s for the best. The Cardinals did just go 5-11 and were a complete embarrassment in the process.
Bruce Arians has tons of experience in the league and should be a calming force in the locker room. A very even keel, and just plain old likeable fella he should be able to make football fun for this team again. As the losses were mounting this season you couldn’t find a tighter bunch in the league if you tried. If they didn’t look completely disinterested they looked like somebody had shot all their dogs. Not exactly a winner’s attitude.
He has a wealth of experience that includes 20 years of being an assistant coach for 5 different teams. His most recent run as the Colts offensive coordinator, also led to an unintended run as head coach while Chuck Pagano battled leukemia. The Colts were 9-3 with Arians at the helm, and they became the first team to make the playoffs following a first overall pick due in large part to Arians success leading the way.
Expectations for a repeat in his first season with Cardinals should be dropped, and quickly. This team is miles behind the Colts in terms of personnel. They also don’t have the same sort of winning culture in the desert yet. That takes time to develop but they did hire somebody with 2 Super Bowl rings, one of which he got by beating the Cards. He did great things with Andrew Luck this year, but there isn’t a quarterback in the draft that even comes close to being as good as luck, and there definitely isn’t one to be found in free agency.
Who knows, maybe he’ll even be stuck with Kolb next year. Whatever the case, there’s plenty of work for Arians to do, and one can only hope he’s up to it. This is his first head coaching gig after all.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV