The Cardinals confirmed Sunday they plan to interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden this week for their vacant head coaching position. Gruden had success grooming second-round 2011 pick Andy Dalton at quarterback, as the Bengals made the playoffs in each of Dalton’s first two seasons. The Bengals’ offense did struggle Saturday in its playoff loss at Houston, although the Texans do have a tough defense.
(Again, no confusion here: This is Jay Gruden, not ESPN announcer/former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, who is, in fact, Jay’s brother.)
Gruden becomes the fourth known candidate (fifth total, although Andy Reid never interviewed). Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was Saturday’s interview. Todd Haley still is on the radar, although no known interview has been set up as yet. And there is Ray Horton.
McCoy did spend Sunday with lengthy interviews with the Eagles and Bears. Reportedly, the Eagles want to talk to Gruden. Horton remains a candidate with the Browns, who reportedly have moved on from trying to get Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
The Cards are still looking for a general manager. They have already interviewed in-house candidate Steve Keim and the Redskins’ Morocco Brown. I’d think that decision would come sooner rather than later. We will see.
For perspective on the coach search, let’s look at the last time the Cards hired a coach. Denny Green was fired Jan. 1, 2007. Ken Whisenhunt was hired Jan. 13.
Tags: Bears, Browns, Eagles, Jay Gruden, Jon Gruden, Mike McCoy, Morocco Brown, Ray Horton, Steve Keim, Todd Haley
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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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First, a disclaimer: I have zero idea whom Ray Horton — if he were hired as Cardinals’ head coach — would hire as his offensive assistants, including coordinator. Horton said he knows who he would have on his staff, but alas, he isn’t sharing those names. This next anecdote, then, might just be an interesting story and nothing more.
But, for those asking, Horton not only has a strong connection with former Chargers head coach-and-pretty-good-offensive-coordinator Norv Turner, but a memorable moment too. Horton was finishing his playing days as a defensive back with the Dallas Cowboys in 1991 and 1992, which were the first two of Turner’s three seasons as OC for the juggernaut Cowboys back in the day.
Horton explained their relationship, which I chronicled back in a story when Horton arrived in Arizona in 2011:
The greatest compliment Horton said he ever received came from Norv Turner, who was the offensive coordinator for the Cowboys during Horton’s playing days in Dallas. As Horton’s NFL career came to a close, Turner – who figured to get a head coaching opportunity soon – asked Horton to be on his staff, whenever that might be.
Horton was perplexed. He talked to a lot of coaches in Dallas, but they were defensive coaches, given Horton’s position. He hadn’t interacted with Turner nearly enough to produce an invitation to work for him. Turner told him he wanted Horton because all the Dallas defensive coaches spoke so highly of him – and that willingness from Turner sticks with Horton to this day.
When Turner ended up as the Washington Redskins head coach in 1994, he indeed brought Horton aboard. Horton was on Turner’s staff for three seasons as a assistant defensive backs coach and defensive assistant before he was plucked to be defensive backs coach in Cincinnati. So yes, there is definitely a connection with Horton and Turner. Does that mean Horton would reach out to Turner to be OC? Again, no way to know. But it wouldn’t be a shock given their history.
— More updates on the general manager front. I’d expect in-house candidate Steve Keim to be interviewed this week. Keim is also reportedly going to interview for the GM jobs in both San Diego and Jacksonville. Tim Graham also reported that the Cardinals will interview Redskins director of pro personnel Morocco Brown — he’s held his post for five years — for the GM job. The Rooney Rule also governs general manager searches, and Brown would fulfill that requirement for the Cards. Coincidentally, Brown, like Keim, played football at North Carolina State (although Keim was gone by the time Brown arrived there.) UPDATE: The Brown interview has been confirmed.
Tags: Morocco Brown, Norv Turner, Ray Horton, Redskins, Steve Keim
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