Closing in on a DC

Posted by Darren Urban on February 8, 2011 – 2:43 pm

It’s amazing, the speed of today’s media and info being thrown out there so quickly in a story such as the Cardinals’ pursuit of a defensive coordinator. There have been twists and turns — and maybe not even “real” twists and turns as much as the appearance of them — but ultimately, things seem to be playing out much like everyone thought for a while.

The Cards asked for permission to interview Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler and secondary coach Ray Horton. Butler permission was denied, but Horton was available. And now, Horton is flying out to Arizona Wednesday. Nothing is official — it’s never done until it’s done — but all signs certainly seem to point toward Horton being the next Cardinals’ defensive coordinator. He worked with coach Ken Whisenhunt for three seasons in Pittsburgh, and he knows well the 3-4 Steelers defense that Dick LeBeau has built (and used as Bengals’ head coach while Horton was coaching there too).

Everything I have heard is that Horton is a smart coach and with 16 years of coaching experience. And we will see, if Horton is the guy, how this turns out. It doesn’t hurt that Horton played in the NFL for 10 years — to me, that will impact (the right way) relationships with guys like Darnell Dockett and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

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93 Responses to “Closing in on a DC”

  1. By Kasdan on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    I look at it this way…

    The secondary was basically the only weakness of the Steelers team this year, and we want their secondary coach? Hmmmm…

  2. By cfansinc75 on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, Does this mean Butler is out for sure ?

  3. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    cfans —

    RE: Butler

    Yes. Permission denied. He’s not leaving Pittsburgh.

  4. By Chad on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Doesn’t denying coaches the opportunity to get a promotion create hostility amongst the coaching staff?

    Do we have the personnel to run a 3-4? Seems like when we played 4 down lineman we played better towards the end of the year. Hope we aren’t putting the cart before the horse on this.

  5. By cheesebeef on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    great, we get the pittsburg leftovers and a guy that everyone in that city wants run out on a rail after the last two super bowls where his secondary was just absolutely shredded and all this wtithout even trying to see what the GB coaches had in store? blech.

    butler would have had my full support. the guy has masterful at developing just KILLER linebackers. bowles intrigued me because he was outside the box and a guy Parcells apparently loves.

    Horton? He’s a guy who Wiz knows… and that’s about it as far as i’m concerned. hope to be proven wrong but if this is what we waited around for for a month, then once again, what was once considerable faith in wiz continues to erode.

  6. By JT on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    The Steelers didn’t have the greatest Pass D this year. I get Whiz’s comfort with Pittsburgh and working with a known quantity and it must be frustrating to be second guessed by every fan. That said, I would look at what the Jets are doing. I do agree former players make the best position coaches because of the credibility factor in motivating players, but I would rather have an X’s and O’s guru for a Coordinator.

  7. By stevedco on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Should be very intresting to see the season DRC, Toler, Rhodes and Wilson have with a new DC coach who has been a DB coach/ player his entire 16 years.

    Should keep the next few week of the off season intresting to see what if any changes are made the the D staff.

  8. By John on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Horton is an excellent candidate. Hope he is the hire. Players will respect him. He will fit in well here.

  9. By arzcardinals on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Darren – why is it Miami was able to interview Butler last year and this year we were once again denied?

  10. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    arzcardinals —

    RE: Dolphins

    I think Butler’s contract was up after last season. But I’m not 100 percent sure.

  11. By Mike G on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    This notion that “steelers secondary was weakest point= secondary coach is bad” is ridiculous. Too many other factors. Personnel, injuries, defensive play calling (obviously I’m not saying Lebeau is a bad play-caller, but it wasnt Horton who called the plays) just to name a few. I have no idea if he is a good coach or bad, but its not just as simple as A=B.

  12. By latch on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply


    Since when did having a relationship with Dockett and DRC become required? Instead of kissing their a$$ they need a boot planted where the sun don’t shine or put them in the road…………

    Horton=Billy Davis

  13. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Latch —

    RE: Relationships

    You sound like you’d make a great boss.

  14. By toddcard on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    i dont see where getting a credible guy who’s been groomed by dick lebeau(even worked under him in cincinatti) is a bad idea.

  15. By CJ on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply


    If our QB coach gets that job at that college what do you think if the Cards hired Jim Zorn? do you think that would be a good pick up no matter what QB we have?

  16. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    CJ —

    RE: QB coach

    Could be possible.

  17. By MikeG on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren—Interesting with Horton—I do think we are a little hung up on the 3-4 style defense. I think our current defensive personnel is more suited to a 4-3. Pitt has very good linebackers which is the strength of the 3-4. I thought our defense in 2008 was our best with four down lineman. I hope our conversion to the 3-4 does not play against the strength of our current team. We need 3 additional good pass rushing LB’s. We need a good draft this year –that is for sure. Pittsburgh has been a linebacker factory for 20 years–we will need to follow in that mode if we want to execute that defense the same way they do. Do you think coach
    Whiz’s loyalty toward prior Steeler’s players and coaches can be a little too over the top????

  18. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    MikeG —

    RE: Steeler loyalty

    In this case, if you take Pitt out of it for a moment, if I said the DC was coming from the second-ranked NFL defense, I don’t think anyone would bat an eye.

  19. By holycardinals on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Um… any searching going on for a OC? It’s not like the offense was better than the defense.

  20. By Kurt on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Why don’t we ask for permission to interview Dick LeBeau?
    It might force the Steelers hand.

  21. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Kurt —

    RE: LeBeau

    Not if LeBeau told them he isn’t going anywhere. And there is nothing to force — Butler can’t go anywhere unless they let him.

  22. By stephn on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    i heard from sb nation that despite the fact that Horton is coming for an interview tomorrow he is expected to be the Cowboys new line-backing coach. If this is true Todd Bowles is our new D coordinator so i would assume

  23. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Stephn —

    RE: Horton/Cowboys

    Horton is not going to Dallas. They wanted him, but I doubt he’s going to blow off a DC opportunity.

  24. By stevedco on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Steelers passing Defense the last 4 years.

    #3, #1, #16, #12

    Horton has been DB coach for the last 3 years.

    The Steelers are getting older and a lot of their DBs have been hurt especially last year.

    Remember they had to trade a 5th round pick for McFadden who started 16 games this year. McFadden would have probably been the nickle corner in AZ.

    Polamalu started 5 games in 2009 and 14 games in 2010 but played hurt must of those. Horton would have Wilson to use in a Polamalu role in AZ.

    I’m not saying Horton is going to be a great DC. All I’m saying is that the Steelers 2ndary has been good to great in the 3 years he was coaching them and with less talent in the 2ndary then AZ.

  25. By paul on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, why do you think Pitt denied Butler a chance to interview when he was granted permission last year to interview in Miami? I understand the “he’s next in line for DC” thing but, yet again, Lebeau isn’t going anywhere and who’s to say next year he’ll retire. It just seems Pitt has something against AZ… Not sure how I feel about Horton. Secondary seemed to be a weak link for Steelers. Not sure Bowels shouldn’t be given a shot instead. Anyone who Parcells says he’d hire asap as a HEAD COACH should be considered more, you think? Hope Horton isn’t a panic pick.

  26. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Paul —

    RE: Bowles

    Parcells also wanted Sparano to be a HC and he was close to being fired. Nothing is in stone.

  27. By Mark in Chandler on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    At the risk of getting the cart before the horse, and realizing that the new DC will be involved in this decision, any thoughts on possible linebacker’s coach possibilities? (I am making the assumption that Moss will not get hired.)

  28. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Mark in —

    RE: Other assistants

    I’m not sure there will be a change there.

  29. By MikeV on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Not trying to be critical at all, but the sentence “(and who used as Bengals’ head coach while Horton was coaching there too)” — the wording confused me. Not sure what was trying to be said there…

  30. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    MikeV —

    RE: Sentence structure


  31. By Mike G on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Two Mike G’s? Piggybacking off my insightful comments and good name!

  32. By latch on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply


    Re: Relationships

    There is a difference in being a boss and a babysitter to a bunch of overpaid brats that are paid to play a game. In both cases;however, those that don’t perform their duties should be replaced.

  33. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Latch —

    RE: Coaching

    There is definitely tough love needed. But anyone who takes that tact as an absolute rule will eliminate a good portion of the talent base as possibilities, because not every player will respond — and that includes some very talented players. In the end, no coach without talent wins.

  34. By holycardinals on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Im sick of hearing about the CBA and the possibility there wont be a 2011 season. These guys are grown men that make oober dollars, and they cant lock themselves in a meeting room for more than 2 hours?

  35. By modavaysean on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Horton didnt exactly bring up an amazing DB in pittsburg. Why not look at the GB DB coach look what he did with Williams ans Shields or what about Kevin Green the LB coach in GB. Why Horton what has he done other than experience

  36. By K-DUB on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply


    Any news or tweets from the cards about this choice?

  37. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    K-Dub —

    RE: News

    Other than what I have written? No. No surprise there. They aren’t going to talk about anything until it’s official.

  38. By azcards24 on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    darren if butler wanted to leave pittsburg on his own could he

  39. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    azcards24 —

    RE: Butler leaving

    He could quit, but he couldn’t work anywhere else in 2011 and he wouldn’t get paid.

  40. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    In an interview I saw with SteelerNation, Horton seemed very sure of himself and the way he does things. (Ala Whiz.)
    However, in the comments section, the Pittsburgh fans seemed to want to run him and William Gay outta town.
    With Horton being a lifetime DB coach, does he and current secondary guy Donnie Henderson have any common ground?

  41. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Horton/Henderson

    Not sure. I expect the new DC and Whisenhunt to discuss the rest of the defensive staff.

  42. By modavaysean on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Ok just realized Green isnt the LB coach my bad and i also realized Horton coached an amazing safety duo in Troy and Clark also did pretty good with 2 mediocre DB’s in Taylor and McFadden. Now all i gots to say is give Moss and interview but if we end up with HOrton we would be in good hands 4 sure 🙂

  43. By WVcardsFan on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, saying he comes from the #2 defense is too simplistic. That’s like giving RB coaches Edgar Bennett or Gene Huey (recently fired) credit for the Packers and Colts (respectively) offenses. Any Steeler fan will tell you their secondary is by far the weakest link of their defense. With Butler, you could easily point out his affect on turning a 3rd round pick (Porter,) an undrafted FA (Harrison,) and a 2nd round pick (Woodley) into All-Pros. That’s tangible proof of good coaching. Horton’s “claim to fame” is having Troy Polamalu mask deficiencies elsewhere. McFadden, Taylor, Gay, and Grant all display poor technique way too much, and are often out of position and miss tackles. Polamalu has freakish talent, covering the field faster than anyone I can remember. He is a heat-seeking missile in the open-field. I’m not sure you can attribute those qualities to “coaching” as mush as “God-given talent.” In my opinion, this will be a horrible hire that reeks of desperation.

  44. By Chuck 1 on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Darren wrote: “Packers assistant head coach Winston Moss and safeties coach Darren Perry are the Green Bay coaches that have been mentioned.”
    If I’m not mistaken, Green Bay won the Super Bowl.
    The GB defense was instrumental in that win.
    Why not AT LEAST INTERVIEW Moss and Perry, who were instrumental in that win????????
    Whiz is infatuated with Steeler personnel again when he should be looking elsewhere.

  45. By azcards24 on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    im starting to feel like the pittsburg steelers little brother who just cant play football as good as big bro, always tries to be like big bro , and always gets all his big brothers hand me downs. can’t we create our own identity. whiz? let pitsburg go please. ps.if we dont pay more than dallas and get horton be ready to see a bunch of other cheap pointless off-season moves again i hate cheap owners.

  46. By stephn on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Thank you for the Confirmation Darren, cause i wasnt ebtirely sure. Soo Horton still is the liable choice at the moment.

  47. By Christo on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    No disrespect to Horton intended. But Darren grabbing the waterboy from the 2nd Ranked D in the league doesn’t mean that it improves us. There is a huge difference in getting the current DC, or the DC in waiting as opposed to getting the left overs that they warrant we get.

    We let Rob Ryan (Among others) go while we sat back waiting to get denied.

  48. By Phoenixraven1 on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Anyone named Ryan will never be in a Cardinal uniform as long as Bidwells own Cards…

  49. By latch on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply


    Kevin Greene was my sleeper pick. Linebacker coach last two years; same time that Whiz was tight end coach before he got OC.

  50. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Latch —

    RE: Greene/Whiz

    Whisenhunt had coached for nine years before he became a coordinator. Greene has coached two years.

  51. By Scott H on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Darren –

    Do you take from the Steelers refusing to allow Butler to interview elsewhere that they are planning on him taking over as DC in Pittsburgh in the VERY near future??? That would certainly make sense to me…why else would they block his departure? Still not definite that Lebeau is back next year…and Butler is reported to be the guy who was the heir-apparent to the DC position in Pittsburgh…it would appear to be a situation that really doesn’t require a slide rule. Which is a good thing, because I’m not smart enough to use anything used by engineers! Regardless, your thoughts?

  52. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Butler denial

    Maybe they think they just paid him a boatload of money last year to stay as LB coach and they don’t want to lose a good coach.

    LeBeau is expected back in 2011.

  53. By RelayTV on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Once again we got out-coached.

    Whiz wanted Butler, we let all other experienced DC’s who were available get snapped up by other teams while we waited for the steelers to end their season, only to get turned down, AGAIN.

    Whiz were foolish to pursue this pipe-dream because he had exactly NO LEVERAGE in this situation. None. What exactly made Whiz believe he could pry Butler away from Pitt, we may never know, all we do know is that once again, the Cardinals come up short.

    Add this bad coaching decision to the DA/Leinart fiasco, the MIA Offensive Coordinator, the Max Hall “experiment” and the inability to move away from a pass-happy offensive scheme, and we are starting to see a string of poor coaching decisions.

    I really wanted Whiz to pursue a DC who had a history of success with other winning teams (Mangini, Phillips, etc.) but when I looked into Butler and saw that he was the heir apparent in Pittsburg I warmed up to the idea. By reading these comments, I can see that I was not alone.

    But once Whiz wins us over, he has to close the deal.

    It seems, once again, that every other team gets who they want for DC, except us.

    We can second-guess the wisdom of who the other teams pick, but we have to admit that they at least know how to get who they go after.

  54. By TBru on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    after a denial, can it be negotiated, like give us permission and you can have the rights to DA?

  55. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    TBru —

    RE: Denial “negotiation”

    That’s kind of what happened with the Raiders, Bucs and Jon Gruden. But that’s not going to happen here.

  56. By georgiebird on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    On the DC position: The Cardinals have never realized the importance of this hire. In the 50+ years I’ve been a fan, the Cardinals have never had a top rated defense. In several of the years since 1960, the Cardinals have had good to very good offenses which have masked to varying degrees the weak defenses- most notably in 2008.
    Until the Cardinals get a pretty good QB (and by your own admission, none are available-and I agree), the Cardinal offense will be mediocre to good. This will result in the defense having to carry the load for at least three seasons.
    Bottom line- the Cardinals should have hired the best DC available regardless of the cost. Butler, Moss and Horton are nothing more than untested guys. The DC hire required the Cardinals to try to finally overcome 50+ years of futility.

  57. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    georgiebird —

    RE: DC “cost”

    Look, you can argue Horton isn’t the right choice or that you wanted someone else. But Horton isn’t being hired because of his price tag, and I don’t believe that was a factor. They were going to pay Butler — who would have been more expensive — and, had they been able to convince LeBeau, they would have paid him. Money has no bearing on this process.

  58. By brad oneill on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    its one thing to wait for a guy like butler. but if they hire this offering from pittsburg and he doesnt produce Whiz is going to be looking like a coach that specializes in overpaying for pittsburg left overs.

    I understand going with what you know. but at some point you have to reach out and bring in someone that might have some input from a different system. someone from the belichek camp would be nice.

  59. By Brian on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Darren –

    Two things 1) From what I hear, Horton is exactly what this defense needs. He’s a no nonsense kind of guy who will get in your face and isn’t affraid to call out his players. 2) Off of the DC topic, I heard Mike Karney was released today, any thoughts on the Cards going after him again? I know they were interested a couple years ago and being as we have a system that will utilize a blocking fullback it makes sense. Beanie seemed to do alright his rookie year when Kreider was blocking for him.

  60. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Brian —

    RE: Karney

    I am sure they will consider fullbacks once they can start signing them (and I suppose Karney is available now since he was released) but FB is going to be down the priority list, I’d think.

  61. By azcardnlz on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Sounds like he is the weakest link that kept them from #1 defense. How long before we change our team colors to black and gold? This is getting ridiculous. I hate the stealers and am getting sick of trying to be stealers west. I am getting real close to giving up my 35 year loyality to the Cardinals. Come on Coach. Be your own man, not a clone!

  62. By Sackman on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply


    It seems to me that we had a weak LB core last year. I always felt that if you have strong LB’s than you should be in a 3 4 defense, and if you have weak LB’s than you should be in a 4 3 defense. Just an opinion, but I think if we want to be in a 3 4 defense we should go after the #1 LB this year for our 1st pick and perhaps another pick later on in the draft.
    Any thoughts?

  63. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Sackman —

    RE: Linebackers

    I don’t think there is any question the Cards need a talent infusion at LB. But they are going to play a 3-4.

  64. By Blake on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    IF Ray Horton comes here can you try to get him on here for a chat ? Like you Did with The QB guy

  65. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Blake —

    RE: Horton chat

    Let’s see if he’s hired first before we start planning something like that.

  66. By drummer-1 on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Hey cardinals fans, it’s a interview not a hire, you complain because it Horton from the steelers, but didn’t complain when it was Butler, let’s see if Whiz try to talk with someone from the Packers.. step back take a deep breath…. ahhh, all better now.. remember it’s a interview NOT a hire….i would rather have Bowles…..

  67. By Gary J on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    I hope Dallas signs Horton. I don’t want anymore Steelers castoffs. I want our new DC to have been a DC and have a solid background as a DC. Horton has never done anything except be a DB coach.

  68. By Canadian Red Bird on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Re: Defensive Coordinator

    I can’t understand how we have anointed Horton as our next coordinator before his interview and before we exhaust the opportunity of one of the Green Bay options that seemed to have been there prior to Super Bowl. No mention has been made of the Packer coaches which does concern me; what’s the harm of interviewing them as well. The public sentiment is that Whisenhunt has a history of surrounding himself with staff that he is familiar with rather than the best possible candidate ( ie. Russ Grimm). If this is a performance driven business, its mind boggling how he is able to keep his job. I agree with several of your bloggers that our defence seemed to be more efficient when we ran the 4 – 3 and that we should be designing our defensive scheme around the personnel rather than around a coordinator whose familiarity is limited to the 3 – 4. It seems as though Bowles would have some flexibility in his defensive approach plus he has Parcels blessing.

    The other subject and its not going to go away until Whiz comes to the conclusion WE NEED AN OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TOO !!!!!!! How about looking at someone in the Green Bay offensive coaching staff. If you had to place a grade on the offensive coordinating this past season, I doubt that he would get a vote of confidence. You cant put all the blame on the players alone.
    Darren , have you heard any rumours to the effect of pursuing an offensive coordinator? Thanks for keeping us updated.

  69. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Canadian Red —

    RE: OC

    As I have said many (many, many) times, I don’t expect any new hires on the offensive staff, unless someone leaves.

  70. By Peter in Canada on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    The naysayers are already dumping on Horton before he has even arrived. In the Super Bowl I watched the Pitt defence played pretty well. Rogers passed for 300 yards but he was throwing on every down and the game was lost by the Steeler offence that turned the ball over three times giving GB one touchdown and two short fields. Apart from Troy the secondary was the least talented part of the Steeler defence and nobody can teach talent.

  71. By tyman on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    who ever we get as are new DC, he has to be ready to work hard and bring in good staff to assist in implementing his scheme. After all our d isnt worst than the offence this last year. Cards need to make a move and move on to the QB situation. To put it simple we need a qb that can move the ball, no more 3 and outs……That will make any DC look better.

  72. By Robert A. Booey on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Horton is a horrible choice. If he’s our next DC, I believe next year will be Whiz’s last as HC of this team. Remember when or staff totally disregarded Derek Anderson’s previous FOUR YEARS in the NFL and based our decision to start him solely upon what he did in our practices? This would be a similar mistake. Look at the Steelers DB performance in the SB and tell me what would lead anyone to believe their coach is ready to take the next step as a DC. It’s laughable. What happened, he had a good interview? Wow! Sign me up!

  73. By wayne on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Arizona Republic said it’s a done deal for Horton, he’s not just coming for an interview, he will be signing a contract to be the AZ Cardinals new DC. I can live with that. He is a former player and experienced CB’s coach that is good in the 3-4 which he has learned under LaBeau, his corners were hurt and still were 12th best passing defense in the league and that was because every team had to throw the ball because teams can’t run against Pittsburg. We do have young and talented corners and if we can get an OLB and DE whatch out for this Defense to turn the corner, plus we get just an average QB and the offense greatly improves. It’s a positive hire and a good one.

    GO CARDS!!!!!!

  74. By Jake on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    we should hav won that super bowl

  75. By bluepitt on Feb 8, 2011 | Reply

    Crap!!! All I read is “He worked with coach Ken Whisenhunt for three seasons in Pittsburgh” and I knew he was hired!!!! hahaha He coached Mc Fadden aka Mc Icantplayforcrap. so he has to be just great!!!!

  76. By Daniel Christensen on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Darren whats your opnion on the CBA would there be a nfl 2011 and if there is.

    Can you see Horton as the new DC coach in Az

    I think they could make a good duo because of their experience together? what do you think

  77. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Daniel —

    RE: CBA

    I’m not optimistic right now there will not be a work stoppage, but I don’t think — right now — it will reach the regular season.

  78. By Craig on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Darren:

    Re: your comment to Latch… “Relationships”

    First time write-in and I am sorry but while Latch’s motivation techniques would come into question in almost any organization… and maybe he wound not be a great boss; His poetic license does imply a very good point:

    Why does a player not respect a coach who did not have the physical talent/skills or aversion to injuries to play in the NFL? If he posseses the skills to be a very good coach, then said players should be glad he stands on their side of the field.

    If not, does that mean that if Vince Lombardi were (alive and) available that he should not be considered good enough to coach a select few players? What about Hank Stram, Marv Levy, John Madden or Bill Walsh? Perhaps Bill Purcells, Bill Belichek, or even Rex Ryan wouldn’t be respected by all if they were on the Cardinal staff you say? How about Super Bowl winning coach Mike McCarthy? I apologize if I appear emotional, however, I ask you really… is their having little or no on-field NFL experience a reason to dis their knowledge, imagination, insight, pride, work ethic, motivational skills and proven winning ways?

    Come on man… I just watched the Pack stop a 2 min drive to seal the deal. As I caught myself saying, “this looks like daja vue” as Ben broke huddle deep in his own territory.

    And I saw something interesting. Something that brought back the pain from 2 years ago. You see… GB didn’t have guys freelancing on the most important Defensive series of their lives. (Go back and watch Rolle leave his zone when Ben scrambles on 3rd and long) And they didn’t have a prima-dona CB biting on every pump fake. Even with injuries putting inexperienced players on field, GB played sound football.

    Yes, I have been told time and again that DRC is a great talent. And I can see his physical abilities are above NFL average. Even viewing from my TV screen so I wont deny it. However, I really never hear anyone here say that he is coachable (or not!). His cover skills are sometimes suspect – by that I mean his instincts and/or play to play desire at the very least. (or study skills perhaps) He definitely does not like to come up and make a play on a strong runner. And honestly, his first responsibility appears to be making a highlight reel, even when he should just sit on the ball. Gosh, having that deja vue moment reminded me of how Ben/Santonio owned him in the 4Q of the SB 2 years ago… and you have to admit, he still falls for many of the same tricks to this day.

    My point is this: Are you implying that a former player (turned coach) will get DRC (and others) to think sound football when he is on the field. To stop being selfish and sit down after an INT if that is good football… To be a mature team player?? Why does it matter if he (the coach) played? McCarthy and crew did it in Green Bay with a whole cadre of youngsters? Really it is a matter of the current player’s level of maturity. Honestly, it is what the players are paid for, as Latch stated. (I never heard Warner complain about Haley, Martz or Vermiel not playing in the NFL). That is a professional’s job: to play mature, sound, NFL quality football. And his physical talents will set him apart, still, if he uses them correctly. Complaints such as these, in IMO, are a crutch for players who lack maturity. And perhaps AZ coaches and ownership should (re)consider if that important quality should go into their draft/FA/trade/re-sign decisions.

    Publicly, the coaches have been great to DRC. They (and for some time, you too, Darren) covered for his mental lapses time and again. Most especially after the fiasco of the final 90yd drive two years ago. DRC should kiss the coaches…umm… hand, for not calling him out. I say trade him while others still talk about his value. And get a mature player in that spot. For he lost it for me this week two years ago. And super athletic talent aside, his lapses and his same old excuses two years later hasn’t won me back. I do wish we would all stop coddling to his fragile ego and call him on it. And I think we should incourage the coaching staff – including one former NFL TE whiz kid – to set higher expectations for such a talent or talents. TY

  79. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Craig —

    RE: DRC

    I’m not going to argue that DRC needs to mature. Obviously, he underperformed this season. Hard to find anyone on defense who didn’t.

    Generally, when you draft/sign guys, you are trying to eliminate that issue from the jump. But again, if you narrow down your list all the way, you are giving yourself a very thin pool of talent (think Stanford in college with grades. They can only chase so many good players). In DRC’s case, the heat may indeed need to be turned up. But this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Sounds great to say, “Dump DRC” or “Bench him.” And then what? You ready for — for example last year — Toler and Adams as your starting CBs? Or Toler/McBride? Rod Hood was a mature guy and one of the best dudes in the locker room — but I’m not sure you’d play him over DRC.

    As for the notion a coach has to be a player to earn respect, no, they don’t. But I don’t think it hurts. Hey it’s great to sit back and say, “All these guys are professionals and do their job, etc., etc.” but I have spent too much time in too many locker rooms to believe you will ever have that 100 percent. You are being naive if you think otherwise. The coaches’ job is to maneuver that minefield. (You think the Packers’ issues with Photogate before the Super Bowl came out of left field with Nick Barnett and Jermichael Finley?).

  80. By Kolb on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    what i ment about kolb is he is more proven than any rookie you’d get coming out of the draft. Also i live in pittsburgh ( which i hate thanks to the squealers ) but anyways, do you have any idea why they keep talking about larry being traded to the squealers?? That would break my heart – have you heard anything??? thanks

  81. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Kolb —

    RE: Fitz

    Fitz isn’t going to be traded.

  82. By johnnybluenose on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    darren, just so i’m in the loop, please explain to me in some detail what you mean about horton and DRC and dockett.

  83. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    johnnybluenose —

    RE: Horton relationships

    People are grabbing on to that comment and making more of it than they should. I just think the fact Horton played a long time in the league carries some weight — just like, for example, the fact Grimm had a long career impacts the offensive linemen he coaches.

  84. By jocards on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    I think the fact is whether or not a coach once played in the NFL not all players respond to the boot up their backside approach. The really good coaches can recognize what approach will bring out the desired result in their players and use it as the situation dictates. I believe the main thing is that coaches need to be who they are….if a coach comes off as being less than genuine the players will spot it and they will not respond well to it.

  85. By latch on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply


    I will quit posting after this but I fail to see how you can be so gung ho for Horton in regard to your response to “johnnybluenose”..

    All the big changes that were promised will boil down to another Steeler retread. If Horton produces the results Grimm has for all the reasons you point to, we could be in for a long year.

    If Horton was so well thought of; why was he not the heir apparent instead of Butler, with all his years playing and coaching?

    I have supported Whiz from the beginning but fail to see anything positive going on here.


  86. By Darren Urban on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Latch —

    RE: Horton

    I don’t know if I’d say I was gung-ho. I don’t know what he’ll do. Neither do you. I suppose in the end, I’d rather just let it play out before making judgments. I didn’t have any control over what happened, so why get emotional about it one way or the other?

  87. By stevedco on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Relationship –

    Think back to when Grimm was put in the HoF. Dockett was very vocal about his respect for him as a player and a coach.

    Dockett talked about wanting to go toe to toe with Grimm in pads one day.

    If Grimm got in Dockett’s face one day, Dockett would have a better chance to listen because of his respect for Grimm.

    Dockett has probably seen very, very little of Grimm actually coaching but he believes in him because of his past experiences.

    At the end of the day, will it make a big difference, no. Just look at Singletary for that one, but it will help in the initial meetings and OTAs (hopefully) buying into the changes Horton wants to make.

  88. By johnnybluenose on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    darren, i think you erred when you lumped dockett and DRC together. dockett is a warrior and a true football player and perhaps it will be better, at least initially, that he is coached or guided by someone with experience as an nfl player. DRC is a gifted athlete but i’m not convinced, despite his pro bowl selection last year, that he is a true football player…or that he would respect someone like horton simply because he once played. and it’s a good thing that employment as an nfl player is not a requirement to be a co-ordinator or head coach in this league otherwise people like lombardi and parcells and gibbs and belichick and tomlin, to name a few, would not have been given the opportunity. still, i’m pretty certain they would have earned dockett’s respect rather quickly. not sure what it takes to get DRC’s attention .

  89. By Mike Ellingboe on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply


    I don’t see the comparison between Davis and Horton. The Steelers secondary has been tremendous over the years. Davis failed in SF and he failed here, largely for the same reasons. As one SF reporter noted, he gets caught between running the 4-3 and 3-4 and only seems to find the right weakness in each one.

    I thought McFadden’s comments were worth noting as well.

  90. By azcardnlz on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply


    I don’t want Butler either. I accepted Whiz because I think he got screwed by the stealers. I thought he might want to beat them to show them wrong, but he seems content to accept scraps from their table.

  91. By stu pedaso on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Oh Goody!!!
    Rodgers carves their secondary up. Could have been the biggest passing yardage ever in A Super Bowl if it wasn’t for a couple of dropped passes and we get their secondary coach and make him the DC.
    Makes perfect sense to me. Not!!!!!

  92. By Mike Ellingboe on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply


    One way of looking at it. Another is that GB turned 3 Pitt turnovers into 21 points, one that was a pick-six. Not counting that, they had one TD drive, one FG, and six punts. Giving up passing yardage to a QB who has consecutive seasons of 100+ QB ratings is going to happen, he did lead them to the title without the benefit of a single home game.

    Pitt was in the top 4 in passing defense in 3 of his 7 years, which is even more impressive considering Polamalu missed five games in 2007 when they ranked third. In terms of pure talent, I’d say our DB’s are ahead of what he had at Pitt so if he can solve the riddle of finding/developing an outside pass rusher our 3-4 may finally start to look like it was worth implementing.

  93. By Craig on Feb 13, 2011 | Reply

    RE: DRC

    Thank you for that response. Naturally I would have to agree, in comparison to your experience, I am naive of the dynamics in a professional locker room.

    Maybe my eyeball test tells me that some physically gifted players let us down more than others

    I don’t know Darren. Not to always pick on DRC, this analogy: In The Game, two yrs ago, we saw AR leave his zone in that 4th and long play to try to get to Ben. Unfortunately, Ben sheds him and throws for a 1st down completion in said vacated zone. The rest is history.

    One year later Antrel leaves. Rhodes comes in. I’m told he has less pure speed and shiftiness than AR, perhaps overall less athletism and cover skills. But my eyeballs tell me he plays the game with more maturity and in a big game he won’t leave us open to potential disaster. Maybe he won’t get as many INTs and pick 6s. Maybe there is 1 or 2 more successful completions. But from watching him, I have more confidence that he would not have been laying on the ground behind the line of scrimmage when a huge completion is made in a huge game. He appears more coachable(?) and of having football smarts about when you should stay home and do your job as a team mate in this defensive situation/sceme and when, given situation and opportunity, you go for it.

    I guess your argument points out that there is so little good/great talent at CB, for today’s style/officiated offensive football that we are to put up with mental lapses that can become potential disaster several times a game in exchange for the superior physical attributes to overcome them?

    This is just me, naively perhaps… All I know is that if there was a K.Rhodes type CB on our team, I’d feel more comfortable with him on the field (and in my locker room) than DRC. I respect your reply, Daren, and I’ll try to come to grips with your experienced thoughts on this topic. But I keep thinking, “do we always win games with better physical talent?”. Seems to me, sometimes, pure athletism, undiscplined, can lead to a lose as easily as a win.

    PS – Horton seems to already be making hints to some of the weaknesses we discussed. Perhaps he can, clean it up back there. He’ll have to if he wants to pressure as much as he implies.

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