Team president Michael Bidwill sat down for an interview this week in between his various head coach and general manager talks to explain, among other things, what he is looking for in both positions. The full interview will be featured on the season’s final episode of “Flight Plan,” which will air Saturday night at midnight following “Saturday Night Live” on Ch. 12 (KPNX).
In terms of a general manager, “I want a strong football person,” Bidwill said. “Not necessarily the best cap guy or the best football operations guy. I want a strong football person. At the end of the day I want to make sure we have the best personnel department, the best scouting department, that we can have.”
Bidwill said he wants to add new positions to the personnel department under the general manager.
As for a coach, “it’s important I don’t get stuck in offense versus defense,” he said. Who the candidate is planning on bringing in for his staff is important to Bidwill in the process, as is — not surprisingly — the plan to develop quarterbacks.
P.S. One final thing. It’s Bidwill.
With an “i.”
Please make a note of it.
Tags: Michael Bidwill
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With the Andy Reid discussion officially over (and it was over last night), the Cardinals’ search for a coach remains with multiple candidates. The Mike McCoy interview will happen this weekend. We’re still waiting for word of a talk with Todd Haley (although Haley reportedly isn’t sure he’d want to leave Pittsburgh.) The Ray Horton talks are done, and I think there is still a chance for another candidate or two to emerge.
(After everything that happened with Reid, I’m not sure the Cards are going to be quite as transparent with announcing potential names at this point. Leaks are going to happen, though.)
I know I mentioned this before but the key phrase in Michael Bidwill’s Monday presser: “It’s not going to move at lightning speed. You don’t want it to, because you learn a lot during your due diligence period.” Bidwill wants to make sure he talks to all the candidates he wants to before making any decisions. That makes sense. This is a huge decision that will impact the next three or four seasons at least.
UPDATE: The interview with GM candidate Morocco Brown of the Redskins took place in Washington D.C. Friday. The McCoy interview comes Saturday in Denver.
– Interesting that Mike Sullivan, the Buccaneers offensive coordinator, reportedly had a good interview with the Bears for their head coaching job and that Bucs QB coach Ron Turner is leaving to coach in college, former Cardinals QB coach John McNulty may not only have a landing spot with friend and Bucs head coach Greg Schiano but could even end up right where he tried to go last year. McNulty, who coached with Schiano at Rutgers, was Schiano’s original choice as OC but the Cardinals wouldn’t release him from his contract to leave, seeking continuity on their staff. The Bucs turned to Sullivan. Now, you’d think McNulty will likely end up on the Tampa staff one way or the other.
Tags: Andy Reid, Buccaneers, John McNulty, Michael Bidwill, Mike McCoy, Ray Horton, Todd Haley
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The combination of a 5-11 record and change with both the general manager and head coach usually leads to one thing: Roster turnover. Of course, none of that happens until the new GM and head coach are in place, and that isn’t happening tomorrow.
(Reiterating from Michael Bidwill on Monday: “It’s not going to move at lightning speed. You don’t want it to, because you learn a lot during your due diligence period.” Remember that concept.)
In the meantime, there are things to speculate upon. With that, here is my annual overview of the roster and where players stand contract-wise heading into the offseason. Free agency begins at 2 p.m. Arizona time on March 12. Until then, the Cardinals have the ability to re-sign any of their own players set to hit the market. With the shift in giving all draft picks at least four-year contracts, the shrinking of the restricted free agent market continues; the only RFA the Cards have is linebacker Brandon Williams, who was so far off the radar after being waived-injured back after training camp that he didn’t appear on the roster.
There are some key decisions to make:
– In terms of unrestricted free agents, it seems probable that all of them would choose to at least reach the market. At this point, there is probably nothing to lose, and would want to see their market value. The Cardinals need to figure out whether they want to lock down these guys. Of the 13 unrestricted guys on the market, the most intriguing include safety Rashad Johnson (given the looming decision on Adrian Wilson), linebacker Quentin Groves, running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, linebacker Paris Lenon and cornerback Greg Toler. I would not be shocked, especially with roster change, to see any of them leave. Lenon’s age works against him. Johnson’s future may be tied to whomever is coach.
– Of the players under contract, money may dictate change. We’ve covered QB Kevin Kolb’s situation plenty, but that will have to be figured out. I think the Cardinals would like to extend safety Kerry Rhodes, who has one more season, but he’s also due a $4.5 million salary and a $1 million reporting bonus next year and that might be too pricey for the team. I’d think they’d want to extend Rhodes and restructure the deal. He may end up in a Wilson situation from camp. Speaking of Wilson, does the team bring him back for a 13th season? That too may depend on the new decision-makers. Wilson is due a roster bonus in March so we may know soon. Curious to know what the Cards do with running back Beanie Wells, if anything.
Lots of questions like that. Obviously I’ve barely touched on most of them. It’s difficult to get too much of a read on them until those making the choices are in place. I think there are going to be plenty of comings and goings, and it won’t just be relegated to the coaching and GM searches.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Beanie Wells, Brandon Williams, Greg Toler, Kerry Rhodes, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Michael Bidwill, Paris Lenon, Quentin Groves, Rashad Johnson
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The Cardinals have asked for and have been granted permission to talk to Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley for the vacant head coaching job. That’s not a surprise. Michael Bidwill has always liked Haley, and was intrigued last year when Haley was interested — after being let go by the Chiefs as head coach — in coming back to be part of Whisenhunt’s staff. And Haley, even when he was Chiefs’ head coach, had expressed his fondness for Arizona and the Cards. He still has a home here.
His stint as K.C. head coach after leaving the Cards as OC after the Super Bowl season started well and devolved quickly until he was fired during the 2011 season. His time in Pittsburgh this past year was filled with some drama as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made some critical comments of Haley’s choices.
Of course, Haley was part of a dynamic offense while in Arizona, developing a close relationship with Kurt Warner and coaxing the next level out of Larry Fitzgerald. He can be confrontational. But you always know where you stand with Haley.
So to recap, here’s where things stand with the Cards’ known candidates as of Thursday morning a little before 10 a.m. Arizona time:
– DC Ray Horton had a good interview, but also felt like he had good interviews with the Browns and Bills.
– Andy Reid is, as of now, still supposed to interview with the Cards at some point, but had an extended interview with the Chiefs Wednesday and many reports have Reid closing in on a deal with the Chiefs. Howard Eskin says Reid won’t make it to Arizona. Then again, many reports had him closing in on a deal with the Cards a couple days ago, and that turned out to be a fallacy.
– The Cards are still scheduled to meet with Broncos OC Mike McCoy this weekend.
– Now Haley figures to be in the mix whenever they can line up an interview.
– For the general manager spot, in-house candidate Steve Keim was having his interview this week, and the Cards will also interview Redskins director of pro personnel Morocco Brown. Keim feels like the favorite there to me, but who knows. Keim is still reportedly going to interview with the Chargers and Jaguars for their GM posts.
Got all that?
– Also, Ken Whisenhunt interviewed not only with the Bills but also the Browns for their vacant jobs.
Tags: Andy Reid, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Bidwill, Mike McCoy, Morocco Brown, Ray Horton, Steve Keim, Todd Haley
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The Cardinals interviewed defensive coordinator Ray Horton Tuesday for the head coaching spot. They are scheduled to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy Saturday in Denver. They have reached out to former Eagles coach Andy Reid to set up an interview, but one has yet to be set.
The latter is an important point, after multiple reports, including many nationally, indicated Tuesday Reid becoming the next Cards’ coach was all but done. Is Reid becoming coach in Arizona going to happen? Maybe. He was always one of the first three candidates — president Michael Bidwill said that Monday. But it would seem that, until an interview takes place and until important details are fully discussed, it’d be hard to say anything was close to being done. We’ll see. It’s possible Reid will be the guy, but after Bidwill just sat in his press conference Monday afternoon saying this wasn’t going to happen at “lightning speed,” it’s odd that it seemed to have happened at lightning speed.
UPDATE: Adam Schefter was one of many who reported the closeness of Reid to the job and later quoted someone calling it “95 percent” done. Here was his tweet later Tuesday: “One source close to Andy Reid insisted deal w/ Cards not close. Another source said Cards search open and no leading candidate at this time.” A significant change.
– In the meantime, VP of player personnel Steve Keim is reportedly going to interview for the Chargers’ GM spot. Horton is slotted to also interview with the Browns and Bills. And the wheels keep turning in the whole process.
Tags: Andy Reid, Mark Dalton, Michael Bidwill, Mike McCoy
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Quarterback will be one of the central issues around the new coach and general manager of the Cardinals. That’s obvious. It was obvious to former coach Ken Whisenhunt, who mentioned over and over the need for more consistent quarterback play, and for team president Michael Bidwill, who noted during his press conference one of the requirements for his new decision-makers will be about “not just finding but also developing quarterbacks.”
Which takes us to the injured Kevin Kolb. In two seasons, Kolb has been hurt more than healthy. When he played this year, the Cardinals were finding ways to win. And Bidwill gave an important quote about the QB — who still figures to have to restructure his contract (he is due a total of $11 million in 2013) to return: “I’m not ready to give up on Kevin Kolb yet.”
Bidwill acknowledged the Cards “probably” haven’t gotten value yet on the Kolb trade, which included the hefty contract. “That’s one of the questions we will really focus on with the coaching staff candidates,” Bidwill said. “How do we see about Kevin and his performance and how we can turn him into the quarterback of the future here for the Cardinals and make that decision, if he is the right guy?”
Kolb has said he wants to return. He has been less specific about restructuring his deal, saying he hoped it wouldn’t come to that. Kolb did respond via text message about Monday’s coaching change.
“It’s obviously an emotional time for everyone right now,” Kolb said. “It’s never one man’s fault. We are all responsible for the underachievement this season.
“With that being said, I’m excited about the new opportunity with whomever is chose and have great confidence in the ones making that decision.”
Tags: Kevin Kolb, Michael Bidwill
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The news will move quickly now, on to potential candidates for both head coach and general manager, and the new offensive assistants that will take the places of the ones let go. On the NFL’s “Black Monday,” after weeks of speculation that changes were probably going to happen, the actual move has a relatively short shelf life.
The Cardinals needed to make some changes. That’s what happens after struggles and non-playoff years and extended losing streaks. But make no mistake, both Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves deserve to get credit for where this team was a few years ago, during division titles and a run to a Super Bowl. They had help from their players and coaches, yes, but they were part of the equation.
So many want to say that Kurt Warner was the reason this team scaled its heights, and Kurt for sure deserves that. But Warner was also in Arizona for two years before Whisenhunt arrived and never took the team anywhere close to where it went after Whiz’s arrival. Warner got benched by Denny Green, was booed off the field at UoP. Warner helped Whiz but Whiz helped Warner, got him to change the way he handled the pocket. It made a difference. Whiz, and Graves, collected a team that could make steps forward. Yes, Whiz inherited good players but he got those good players winning in a way they never had before.
And Graves was there helping collect those players even before Whisenhunt arrived.
There will be criticisms of both, and that’s fair. Whisenhunt said it yesterday after the Niners’ loss — “Bottom line, we didn’t win enough games.” There is plenty of blame to go around when you lose nine in a row, or six in a row last year, or seven in a row in 2010, but it’s never completely black and white. In a lot of ways, this comes down to the quarterback. There is little question the position could have — and probably should have — been handled differently after Warner retired. But without a top-notch quarterback, winning in the NFL is a difficult chore, regardless of anything else going on. Yes, the offensive line has been under-addressed, but I just don’t believe that it’s something consistent QB play couldn’t have overcome.
So the Cards move on. Both defensive coordinator Ray Horton and VP of player personnel Steve Keim are expected to be candidates for the coach and GM jobs, respectively. Adam Schefter reported the Cards have also put in for permission to talk to Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. We’ll see what president Michael Bidwill has to say later this afternoon. (The last time the Cards were searching for a head coach, Bidwill let everyone know who was on the list of candidates.)
Change can be good, but change isn’t what you want to have to happen. Stability works in the NFL. The Cards were put in a spot where change was necessary, but the process starts all over again now.
Tags: Ken Whisenhunt, Michael Bidwill, Mike McCoy, Ray Horton, Rod Graves, Steve Keim
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Larry Fitzgerald has done en excellent job managing whatever frustrations he might have during this season with the Cardinals. Anyone who has been around him the last few years can’t be surprised.
“I keep everything in perspective,” Fitzgerald said. “At the end of the day, I’m living a dream. I have an NFL jersey on, an Arizona Cardinals jersey, only 1,500 men around the world that can say they are playing in this league. That’s an exclusive group. It doesn’t feel good to fall short of your goals but we still have one more game against a really good opponent. It’ll be a test of our resolve.”
As usual, Fitz was asked team-wide-type questions about change and, specifically, about whether he wanted to see quarterback Kevin Kolb return. Fitzgerald handled them with his usual grace.
“You’re asking me questions above my pay grade,” Fitzgerald said. “I saw (president) Michael Bidwill, I saw (VP of player personnel) Steve Keim, I saw (general manager) Rod Graves, those guys might have some answers for you. Those are the decision-makers. I’m just a number.”
Fitz mentioned that he has a personal relationship with all his teammates and he’d like to bring them all back. He clearly didn’t want to get into such a discussion.
“I don’t like to play the GM game,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s not my role.”
(I know there are thoughts out there that Fitzgerald has some kind of sway when it comes to some decisions, but that is overblown. The Cards aren’t making decisions based on Fitz’s desires. Nor should they.)
One thing Fitz does understand — as do most players — is that change comes every offseason, and when a team struggles as much as the Cardinals have, it usually leads to more change than usual.
“Unfortunately that’s the nature of our business,” Fitzgerald said. “(There is) 30 percent turnover every year across the league, from draft to trades to cuts to guys retiring. It’s part of our game. I look around the locker room and see Adrian (Wilson) and Darnell (Dockett) and that’s about it being around as long as I have been.”
There was a funny moment as someone tried to delve into Fitzgerald’s thoughts about a 5-10 record. After Fitz said his role wasn’t as GM, it was asked, “But you want to win?”
“I definitely want to win, no question,” Fitzgerald said, which drew the response of “But that hasn’t been happening.”
Fitzgerald looked up and couldn’t help but smile. It was like a grooved fastball for Fitzgerald to hammer out of the park. “That hasn’t been happening. You’re right. Did you have an epiphany today with that?”
Fitzgerald chuckled as he delivered the line, and so did everyone in the group.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Darnell Dockett, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Bidwill, Rod Graves, Steve Keim
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Team president Michael Bidwill addressed the situation with the Cardinals and talked briefly about making any personnel changes — the biggest of which, of course, would concern head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Obviously no change is coming today and it certainly doesn’t sound like one would come before end of the season. Bidwill’s comments in full:
“Obviously it’s very disappointing the way it has gone and yesterday’s loss was extremely disappointing,” Bidwill said. “It is unacceptable. It’s one of those things, people inside this building, outside this building, our fans, we are living and dying with each of these losses and it’s extremely hard to watch. I know we can do better.
“I know there is a lot of emotion around yesterday but I don’t intend to make any decision based on emotion. I have been evaluating things all along and expect to continue to do that, and want to have a complete set of facts as I evaluate what went wrong, what went right. And as things move forward I want to make sure we do what is in the best interest of the team and that means getting ready for each game, week in and week out. That means getting ready for the Detroit Lions. That’s what I want everyone to stay focused on, top to bottom.”
Q: Complete set of facts, does that mean Whisenhunt will complete the season as coach?
Bidwill: “I plan to make sure the best thing we can do is focus on week in and week out and not make a decision based on the heat of the moment.”
Q: Once things simmer down …
Bidwill: “I think not making a rushed decision is the right way to go. Having a chance to evaluate away from the week in, week out preparation, what went right, what went wrong.”
Q: Is this a combination of coaching, injuries, mis-evaluation of the quarterbacks?
Bidwill: “When you have lost nine in a row there is aplenty of responsibility to spread around. Obviously injuries have been a factor but even with that, we expected a much different season than what we have got right now.”
Q: Will finances be a factor in your decision?
Bidwill: “Winning football games and staying focused on what wins football games is what we will be staying focused on.”
Q: Will you evaluate this season regardless of what happens the rest of the way?
A: “Yes. I think you look at it, and that’s part of the reason why you step away, so you can look at a complete set of the facts, what went right and what went wrong.”
Tags: Ken Whisenhunt, Michael Bidwill
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The theme coming out of coach Ken Whisenhunt’s press conference today was that Whisenhunt wasn’t talking change. That doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any, I suppose, but there were no announcements or anything close to that Monday.
Whisenhunt, calmly answering all the questions you would expect, said again he wasn’t worried about his job. (At this point, I don’t expect anything in that regard before the end of the season, if it happens.) He said he talks every day with team president Michael Bidwill, but he didn’t say they have talked about his future.
As for his coaching staff, Whisenhunt wasn’t going to start analyzing their jobs publicly or speak on their future. He wouldn’t say he’d be making changes, but he wouldn’t say he wouldn’t either. “Out of respect to our players and coaches, they are all working hard,” Whisenhunt said. “It is easy to say, ‘Do this’ or ‘Do that.’ The number of hours these guys put in, it is unfair to them (to talk about it). … I don’t think that’s appropriate to talk about here.”
– Whether QB Kevin Kolb could be shut down the rest of the season would be “in part a medical decision.” Whiz said he knows what he has in Kolb and he has won. “The biggest thing you have to have … you know you will miss some games but you can’t miss a tremendous amount.”
– The Cardinals “have to look at all options” at quarterback this offseason, but given where we are right now, specifics were coming. Someone brought up Vince Young’s tweet that Young wanted a chance. Whiz declined to comment on that.
– Whisenhunt said center Rich Ohrnberger played with a knee injury yesterday and compared the situation to Lyle Sendlein playing with a knee injury a few weeks ago. We know what happened to Sendlein. Not sure what happens to Ohrnberger — Whiz said more info should come later — but that doesn’t sound like a good sign. If Ohrnberger is banged up, the Cards are down to rookie Scott Wedige at center, and he just signed when Sendlein went down.
Tags: Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb, Michael Bidwill, Rich Ohrnberger
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