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And then there was Haley

Posted by Darren Urban on January 3, 2013 – 9:56 am

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.

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Interview schedule and Reid reports

Posted by Darren Urban on January 1, 2013 – 3:52 pm

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.

Tweet of the day came from Cards’ VP of media relations Mark Dalton, perhaps the most underrated Tweeter out there: “I’m 99% sure that reports of a deal being 95% done are 100% incorrect #azcards

— 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.


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The Whisenhunt/Graves era ends

Posted by Darren Urban on December 31, 2012 – 1:16 pm

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.

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