The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting (in Ed Bouchette’s chat) that the Cards have asked the Steelers for permission to interview Keith Butler for the vacant defensive coordinator position. The report also says the Steelers have yet to give an answer. Given that Whisenhunt and Butler have known each other for so long, I’d think the interview would be more about specifics — like Butler’s contract desires, for instance — than defensive substance.
Kent Somers is reporting the Cards have asked permission for a second candidate, but doesn’t name a name. I wouldn’t be surprised if the other comes from Green Bay (I’d think the Pittsburgh report would cover any possible Steelers, right?). Packers assistant head coach Winston Moss and safeties coach Darren Perry are the Green Bay coaches that have been mentioned.
UPDATE: XTRA’s Mike Jurecki is reporting that the Steelers denied permission to interview Butler, but that Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton — whom Whisenhunt also coached with in Pittsburgh — is apparently coming to the Valley for an interview. Horton’s contract is reportedly ending.
UPDATE II: Somers is reporting that permission was requested for Butler, Horton and Moss, and the Cards haven’t received an answer for any of them yet.
UPDATE III: Butler’s son tweeted that his dad was indeed denied permission to interview. (Sounds like Butler deleted his tweet, but permission was indeed denied).
Tags: coaching staff, Darren Perry, Keith Butler, Ken Whisenhunt, Ray Horton, Winston Moss
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I am not at the Super Bowl. But thanks to Twitter, it’s easy to monitor some people who are there and are talking to some of the assistant coaches who have been floated as potential defensive coordinator targets for the Cardinals. Since coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t talked to any of these people yet — he can’t even ask for permission to do so until after the season — these potentials are just guesswork. But it’s educated guesswork.
The name of Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton has been mentioned, and ESPN’s Matt Mosley noted that Horton isn’t all that thrilled that assistants from losing teams have a better chance at getting promotions, because assistants can’t interview until their season is over. It’s been a long-time conundrum for the league, but ultimately, I don’t know if there is a better way. You don’t want assistants still working in the playoffs to have such a distraction as to plan for another job interview.
Since Dick LeBeau already had made it pretty clear he didn’t want to go anywhere, Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler — who is close with Whisenhunt — remains a popular subject. He told reporters today — including Kent Somers — he doesn’t have a clause in his contract saying he will succeed LeBeau as Steelers’ DC when LeBeau is done. He also said the Steelers have been generous monetarily while keeping him around and that he doesn’t know if the Steelers would give permission for him to interview for the job. That has long been the $64,000 question with Butler — can he even get out of his contract?
UPDATE: And here is a good story by Mike Sando on Butler and Whisenhunt.
On the Green Bay side of things, the best guesstimates are assistant head coach/inside LBs coach Winston Moss, who acknowledged to Somers he doesn’t know Whisenhunt well. The same can’t be said for Packers safeties coach Darren Perry, who not only coached with Whisenhunt in Pittsburgh but has played and coached in LeBeau’s system. That, in my mind, makes him that much more attractive (although various reports have the Eagles and Raiders also possibly waiting to interview Perry for the same job).
Nothing will happen until Monday or Tuesday of next week, when Whisenhunt will ask for permission to whomever he is looking at (and I would guess that would include LeBeau, since a) his contract is expiring and b) since he has waited this long, there’s no reason not to inquire). Miami assistant head coach Todd Bowles remains a candidate too. And I’d think the entire process — depending on how many interviews Whiz lines up — would come to a conclusion fairly soon after.
Tags: coaching staff, Darren Perry, Dick LeBeau, Keith Butler, Ken Whisenhunt, Ray Horton, Todd Bowles, Winston Moss
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