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The search for a coach

Posted by Darren Urban on January 19, 2013 – 12:04 am

The dinner was at Tarbell’s on Camelback Road on Wednesday night, a prelude to a formal Thursday interview with potential head coach Bruce Arians. But Michael Bidwill felt that night — as the conversation turned, as much as they tried not to, to hardcore football.

“He’s a great teacher,” Bidwill said, “and he didn’t need a chalkboard to communicate what he wanted to do.”

That was the night Bidwill was convinced Arians was going to be the right pick to be the Cardinals’ next head coach. General manager Steve Keim wouldn’t go that far, but the vibe was good, he said, and that carried over to the next day’s talk — a long day that eventually ended up with Arians accepting the job in the early evening.

“It was very similar to when I decided what college I went to,” said Keim, the former offensive lineman from North Carolina State. “I remember having just the right feel.”

Bidwill said the Cardinals interviewed a total of “close to 10 candidates.” Not all were known publicly and at least one was on the college level, Bidwill added. Arians was a target from the start, Keim said. Why did it take so long to talk to him? Keim said there were others the Cards wanted to get to first — Andy Reid and Mike McCoy were named the day the Cards fired Ken Whisenhunt — and Arians was also in the playoffs with the Colts. Then Arians came down with the serious ear infection that not only kept him from the Indianapolis playoff game but for a couple of days after, and then Arians also committed to interviewing with the Bears (a job for which Arians was the runner-up to Marc Trestman.)

But Keim said he had been talking with Arians’ agent, Mike Brown, from the time Whisenhunt was relieved of his duties. “We knew at some point we’d have a chance to get in front of Bruce,” Keim said.

The exact details of how the coaching decision was made was, obviously, kept close to the vest by the power structure (Bidwill said director of player personnel Jason Licht and brother Tim Bidwill joined Keim and himself on the coaching interviews.)

“One thing through this process I have learned is the amount of misinformation,” Keim said. “You guys (in the media) have a tough job, because a lot of times, you’re chasing ghosts.

“We stayed the course. We had several guys we wanted to talk to, but once we talked to Bruce, we knew he was our guy.”

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Posted in Blog | 41 Comments »


41 Responses to “The search for a coach”

  1. By azjam on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    The press conference with Bruce was very impressive He hit a home run for sure. I’m interested to see his final staff.

  2. By GMAN on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,

    I like Bruce already.He is very passionate because he where’s his emotions on his sleeve.He reminds me of Dick Vermiel in that regard.I believe the players will love and respect him for that and have that same passion.Which will be converted into winning football games.Too bad Kurt Warner isn’t ready to be the OC for Bruce.

  3. By johnnybluenose on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    why do so many people want DRC back playing for us? i understand he played well at times and showed potential and was a crowd favourite when he was here. but, from most accounts, he has been considered a disappointment in philly. what is his contract status anyhow?

  4. By tyman on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Out of all the coaches available Bruce Arians has to be the best hire. Only time will tell, but when you hear Arians talk its hard not to get excited to be a cards fan. What Arians did for the Browns, Colts , and Steelers is something to be admired. Michael Bidwill and Keim have did a great Job.

  5. By Iacardinal on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Fantastic hire…

  6. By chad on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,
    couple questions please:
    Q:Is Arians a 3-4 D-guy or a 4-3 D guy? I know he is an offence guy so that might be hard to know at this point.
    Q: Also, how much control over his coaching staff does he have? Meaning can Kiem or Bidwell say No on coaches or fire coaches? Or does he have 100% control…
    Thank you

  7. By cooldaddy79 on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Im excited about the whole change. Hopefully our qb can step up or even if Alex Smith could come over and try out, would be cool. L. Bryd i think will have a break out year as well.

  8. By Rick on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Wow we chose Bruce over Horton not a popular move by cards. Pretty much played horton all this time. We lost the only coach that made our team worth a dam last two seasons. Ashamed to be a fan right now.

  9. By donttakelosses on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Darren:

    Good article, appreciate a peek into the inside, fun stuff. That’s why you get paid the big bucks.

    Noticed a couple of his former players referred to him as BA for BadAss. Lol.

  10. By Steve on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: Hard to say but do you feel if Horton had towed the the company line he’d still be our DC or does it appear that Arians would still have replaced him?

  11. By donttakelosses on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Impressive. L’il Bidwill is 2 for 2, Kiem and Arians. The organization is on a roll. Noticed in tweets Arain’s nickname is BA for”BadAss” per former players who seem to really love him. On a roll…

  12. By TD409 on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    How sad that bidwill and Keim only chose Arians beacuse hes the only one who said not to get rid of Kevin Glass Kolb. Arians jumped on the Glass Klob band waggon just like all of the Cardinals Media Staff have. Guess Bidwill has thier tongs tided too. Then we get rid of a Awsome DC beacuse the players might like him.BS Bidwill gets rid of anyone who speaks out about the garbage going on in the organization. example; Boldin, Leinart. At this rate will there be Arians keep any of the veteran players? time will tell.

  13. By Blake on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Is John Lott going to be remaining at his Strength and Conditioning position?

  14. By Credit Card on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    This reminds me of that great line in Blazing Saddles: ” Ladys and Gentlemen, we better get this right, because our phony balony jobs are at stake”.

    Thank you Mel Brooks, for describing the wacky world of professional sports.

  15. By eric c on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    i am really excited about this hire…i was for jay gruden until i heard thst they wanted to interview arians,that changed everything for me.this is an excellentt move.he did a great job with the colts and has two world titles on the wall with the steelers.outstanding hire in my opinion.

  16. By Ezz on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    This is literally making me sick.

  17. By Duane on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    The more I’ve read about BA from those that know him…I am convinced we got a good coach….
    Hate seeing some of (almost all of) the old staff go, but agree with the reasons…. not sold on the probable new DC but what the heck, our players are still great on that side of the ball, and maybe because of their long friendship and understanding, BA and the DC will keep the D running smooth and aggressive.

  18. By Darren Urban on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Chad —

    RE: questions

    1) http://www.azcardinals.com/news-and-events/article-2/Bruce-Arians-Brings-Emotion-To-Cardinals/6ccfc61d-ba01-4fa8-bbd9-7a11db5b43ab

    2) Usually, coaches have a big say in who they take as coach. But those guys still have to negotiate a contract with the team, and sometimes the team wants to keep someone (think Pendergast in 2007).

  19. By Darren Urban on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Horton

    All I can go by is what Arians said and he said he wanted to move on.

  20. By Adam Cohen on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Darren:
    BA’s resume as OC is extremely impressive, with the lone exception being the 2003 season with the Browns (5-11 record, QB carousel, anemic offense. Sound familiar?). If you ever get the chance, would love his perspective on:
    A) what went wrong with that team?; and
    B) what he learned from that experience that he can use to avoid the same pitfalls w/Az?

    Thanks!

  21. By Steve on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: Will you be in Mobile,AL for the Senior Bowl?

  22. By Madriffs on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Horton is gone. He found a job the same day, good for him. I would have loved to see him stay but I’m sure there are other qualified candidates for the job. There is a ton of talent on this defensive squad and I’m looking forward to seeing this team grow under the leadership of Arians. There is alot to look forward to Card’s fans…

  23. By georgiebird on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    The Cleveland Browns have to be a smart organization. They are hiring Ray Horton as DC to work with their young defensive players. What happens to Horton and the Browns at the end of the 2013 season:
    1) Horton gets a HC job and leaves-OR
    2) Horton doesn’t get a HC job and throws a temper tantrum and stays-OR
    3) Horton doesn’t get a HC job and throws a temper tantrum and leaves
    I wonder how Cleveland makes out in the scenarios above? It looks like Ray Horton will be on the run for the next few years. Glad the Cardinals got rid of Ray-we can all see thru this guy now- let’s call him X-ray Horton for Oh so many reasons.

  24. By Chuck 1 on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Are there any Cards fans who live in the PA, NY or NJ area who can fill us in on why the Eagles’ defense wasn’t very good this season i.e. bad coaching, injuries (think the Cards’ OLine this season), bad drafts and/or bad FA selections or …….?

    I would like to know if you think that the Eagles DC is PRIMARILY responsible for the poor performance by the defense.

  25. By philly cards on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Was clancy p that bad? I watch his big card games a lot and it comes down to really one problem. Gerard hayes. He was the biggest fraud in the defense.not recognizing that was a problem that cost us more than anyone thinks

  26. By cobra on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Horton gone doesn’t surprise me given they already know each other from Pit. HIs tirade with Kiem didn’t help. This is why I was concerned about Horton being HC. He’s a great DC, just needs to be more diplomatic. Arians and Horton would have been a recipe for disaster in the locker room. Good luck to Whiz and Horton, they are both good Coaches. Now, Arians has to prove he can conquer the QB problem. As I have said before, I think the Colts sandbagged last season, knowing Manning would be gone. Just their luck, they have the #1 pick with Luck. This isn’t the first time Irsay has done this?

  27. By carlo milan italy on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    darren
    do u know whom from the staff will go to mobile for senior bowl

  28. By Havasu Tom on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren,
    You have been very busy and I want to thank you for the great work over these tough days for us CARDINAL FANS! I think the reason for letting Horton go was a bunch of Bull. Horton wants to be a head coach, PERIOD. He wouldn’t do anything to hurt his chances to be a head coach, especially creating issues in the locker room.
    That being said, I’m not sure Horton is ready for a Head Coach position, put his time will come.
    You don’t take a chance of not having a top ten defense to please a new head coach’s need for complete domination of his coaches and players. even thinking of bringing back the 4-3 defense turns my stomach. Another Bidwell Blunder.
    Thanks Darren for this great site, you deserve an Award. Tom

  29. By Cardinals future owner 17 PHX on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    So, now the question is, when does the mass roster termination begin?

  30. By D on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Now that we have a HC, here is my New Updated Draft

    (assuming we don’t move down and add more picks, which would be nice)

    Round 1– Mike Glennon QB
    Round 2– Dallas Thomas OT/G
    Round 3– Stephan Taylor RB
    Round 4–Devan Taylor DE
    Round 5–Kevin Reddick ILB
    Round 6–JJ Wilcox SS

  31. By jocards on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    I’m going to qualify this post by first saying that I think Ray Horton did a good job as our defensive coordinator. I do not understand why many here are reacting to his departure as though the greatest defensive mind to ever have drawn up X’s and O’s has left though. All this talk about him “deserving” the head coaching job is surprising to me. Our defense was pretty good under Horton, it certainly wasn’t great and it absolutely was never dominating. The defense looked really good when held in comparison to our anemic offense but it was never a great defense. The defense certainly had more playmakers than did the offense and it is little surprise that it was the strength of a very bad football team. Any coach trying to achieve and sustain success with this organization has an enormously challenging task ahead of him. I like the background of Bruce Arians, he has a very good and a long resume as an offensive coach. He also demonstrated an ability to lead as a head coach under less than ideal circumstances with Indianapolis in 2012. Again I like Ray Horton but I am not at all convinced that he “deserved” anything.

  32. By georgiebird on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,
    Don’t like Arians’ choice of OC. Sounds like an arrogant pick- in that Arians feels he will just fill the position in name only- BUT Arians will do the brain-work. Hope I’m wrong but it’s beginning to sound a little like Whiz’ mindset.

  33. By Roland on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    We need a coach with a little fire in the belly i liked wiz but to calm most of the time. Seems like a good hire and the players like a coach that takes charge with a little can of wup ass. Horton is a big loss but the players are on the field not the coach. B.A. knows all about hortons defence B.A. was oc in pittsburgh same time as horton. GO CARDS Hay Darren if Kolb cant play can the team afford a high dollar free agent q.b. if not could be tough.

  34. By Darren Urban on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Mobile

    No. I will be going to the combine.

  35. By Darren Urban on Jan 19, 2013 | Reply

    Carlo —

    RE: Staff in Mobile

    I don’t know for sure.

  36. By Brian on Jan 20, 2013 | Reply

    Havasu –

    I don’t think the concern was with Horton himself causing issues in the lockerroom, it was more about the potential of a divided team where some players who wanted Horton as HC might go to him to voice concerns. That is what BA said about the situation and no HC wants that possibility in his lockerroom. It will only make his job more difficult so he’s eliminating that threat.

    Having said that, I’m sad to see Horton leave also but I think it’s best for both sides. We have a lot of talent on defense and should still be successful. And if it helps settle your stomach, he never said he’s switching to 4-3, he wants to run both in a sort of hybrid defense which I’m interested in seeing. I just don’t know how you can say for certain this is “another Bidwell Blunder” until this plays out.

    By the way…it’s Bidwill, not Bidwell

  37. By johnnybluenose on Jan 20, 2013 | Reply

    Brian. i’m seeing fewer and fewer sightings of bidwell out there. there will always be some but bidwell is almost an endangered species. almost but not quite. i occasionally notice a few kiems out there too and one or two arains. these will bear some watching too. imagine the fun we could have if we had colin kaepernick on our team.

  38. By Brian on Jan 20, 2013 | Reply

    johnny-

    Agreed, it would be fun both on the blog and on the field

  39. By William Barry on Jan 20, 2013 | Reply

    BA is a great hire for this football club…he already know Ray Horton’s defense, so that hopefully wont be a problem….I like his compassion and candor….GO CARDS.

  40. By Eazy E on Jan 22, 2013 | Reply

    I smell this BS from a mile away. They maybe didn’t want Horton because of his race. Who knows they ain’t coming out and saying that of course but who knows besides them and God. Why else would you not hire Horton who had a great defense with absolutely no offense?! He microwaved our defense into elite in a short time period with our D being out there forever. Why else would you fire him for whatever reason and hire the Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles?! He had 2 interviews to Arians’ 1. Come on I ain’t stupid and most people I would hope definitely on this blog but period aren’t either. He is a leader of men and after Reid, was my number 2 HC Candidate. After McCoy left, you know they gave him insurances that he would get the job so they probably lied to him also.#Same Old Cardinals

  41. By Darren Urban on Jan 22, 2013 | Reply

    Eazy —

    RE: Horton/Race

    See, I have a problem with the suggestion the decision was race-based. This is a team that hired Denny Green in 2004, that had Rod Graves as the top man in the front office for basically a decade. I don’t know why they made the decision to not take Horton as head coach, but to suggest it was because of his skin color seems like trolling to me.

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