Reports: Cards change secondary coaches UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on February 9, 2011 – 9:54 pm

UPDATE: The Cardinals have officially announced the hiring of Deshea Townsend as assistant defensive backs coach. That was the only news released.

The Cardinals have made changes on the defensive staff with Ray Horton coming in as defensive coordinator. We knew something was coming, and reports now attach names to the news. XTRA’s Mike Jurecki reported the Cardinals fired defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson and assistant defensive backs coach Rick Courtright (who had been a part of the staff since Denny Green was hired in 2004).

Joe Reedy in Cincinnati, meanwhile, reported the Cards are hiring former Bengals assistant Louie Cioffi, who had been in Cincinnati since 1997 and has been their assistant defensive backs coach. Cioffi coached together with Horton with the Bengals. Add in Deshea Townsend, the just-retired defensive back who also interviewed Wednesday and who Horton made clear he wants to hire, seems like the other likely hire. By the sound of it, both could end up being co-secondary coaches, although we’ll have to see how that plays out.

Nothing official has come down yet, but I’d guess we will see something Thursday.

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62 Responses to “Reports: Cards change secondary coaches UPDATE”

  1. By Khardz on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    That was fast, i like it. I’m really excited for this season!

  2. By Ellis on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    This is a very good move to me because he also knows LeBeau’s system. He has coached up the Bengals Cbs and i wonder if we could get Johnathan Joseph to pair with DRC. If they really want a good OLB look at Tamba Hali he’s a beast!

  3. By CMacyn on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    This is starting to get a little crazy, Is it common to have Co-secondary coaches? On the other hand it seems like we are clearing house with the D coaches as a whole. This will be interesting. GO CARDS!!! Von Miller at #5

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

    CMacyn —

    RE: Jobs

    I am only guessing on the titles. We will see what is officially announced, which I assume will be some time Thursday.

  5. By CZarr on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply


    What were your impressions of Rick Courtright? Being part of the coaching staff for 7 years (or almost) is…. Well… What are your impressions of Rick Courtright? Was that a wise decision in your eyes?

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

    CZarr —

    RE: Courtright

    I think it’s possible this had less to do with Courtright and more to do with hiring someone who has his own guys he wants.

    As for it being a wise decision, I guess we’ll have to see.

  7. By CZarr on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Sweet cup and cakes… That was redundant, but… I like redundancies. They emphasize things.

  8. By Allen Boise on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Seems as though our current linebackers coach should be in some jeopardy. Our evaluation process has been terrible at both inside and outside linebacker for some time. They cannot afford another Cody Brown or Buster Davis. Darren is Matt Raich in any trouble?

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

    Allen —

    RE: Raich

    I believe Raich will stay in place.

    And while they can’t afford another Cody or Buster (and Raich wasn’t LB coach for Buster), were those coaching issues, or an issue at the scouting level?

  10. By J.M.Dubya on Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

    Sounds magnificent. As did how you hyped up Mr. Davis. But hopefully this one works out the way it sounds as it should.


  11. By drummer-1 on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    For all the cards fans, they are looking to hire someone thats not a former Steeler, now can we get off that topic now….

  12. By Pheenic Cromartie on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Finally, some action! The Off-season has officially begun.

    With a good Draft, and good acquisitions in key positions, we could be looking at a very successful season.

  13. By Eazy E on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    I kinda liked donnie henderson but a new d-coordinator chooses his coaches. Louie Cioffi was the bengals assistant defensive backs coach and the bengals have a nice secondary, so we’ll see how that works. Deshea Townsend was just with the colts and now retired and I think would make a good coach in the secondary also because of his experience as a player and now a coach.

  14. By Daniel Christensen on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Hello Darren

    After Signing the new DC do you believe in him, and could it be possible to put az back on track or whats your opnion about the hole cardinal situatioN?

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

    Daniel —

    RE: New DC

    I’d be lying if I said I knew. He said the right things yesterday. So yes, I think it’s possible.

    I will say I am a big believer in having talent. Sounds obvious, but you’re coaching can only take you so far.

  16. By Old Man Riva on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    We all know the Big Red HAVE to make changes to avoid another fiasco like this past season. Our defense has some guys who can do the job and hopefully we will now have a DC who can also (I am so glad Davis is gone!). All the blabbing on ESPN, etc., about how no one would want to come and coach the Cards because of poor personnel. I think that is far from the truth. We have plenty of good players, just missing a few key pieces…like a decent QB (let’s get the CBA out of the way and get Kevin Kolb). We will get a good OLB/DE/CB in the draft and we will be ready to roll! At least let’s hope so because I don’t know how long the Wiz will last if this team goes in the dumper again next season. That means starting all over again!!!

  17. By K-DUB on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    He’s cherry picking from the AFC North which is a division based on defense. Now only if he could a grab a coach from Baltimore then I’d be really stoked.

  18. By Wampag on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    hey D I know it just happened yesterday but did you meet Horton? I like this guy he says the right stuff and he seems to get it. I love a D that goes for it and the line he wasnt teams to know they have played us is awesome…if you did meet him what is your overall feel? what vibe did you get from him?

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

    Wampag —

    RE: Horton “vibe”

    Yes I met him. Definitely sounds smart. I like his confidence, I like the aggressive bent. I like how he sounds like he knows he should have this job. And frankly, I like him saying he can make the current players better, because an overhaul of players — especially this offseason — isn’t happening.

  20. By MikeG on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Good luck to Horton and the rest of the defensive coaches!!! What do you see the Card’s doing in this years draft—I know we could lose some players in free agency depending on what happens with the CBA. Would you pick mostly a defensive heavy draft this year???? We have age at LB!!— I would draft 3–Your thoughts???

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

    MikeG —

    RE: LB

    I think they need linebackers, yes. But maybe free agency can help. I don’t know if I draft three — there are a lot of other positions that could use help too.

  22. By andrew on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    i agree all the way !!!! FTW

  23. By Barry on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    I hope the cards made these moves we got blown away last year in some of the one-on-one plays. This is a good move by Horton/Whiz. Get rid of the Green staff. We really gotta hope the talks open up for the labor union otherwise this is just a wasted year :-/

  24. By Barry on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    by the way…are CARDS going to drop DA off the roster??

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

    Barry —

    RE: DA

    I will be surprised if that doesn’t happen at some point.

  26. By CardiacCards on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Faith Focus Finish!

  27. By jason on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Ok cool, now we should try to and buy are way to the super bowl like the Jets.

  28. By Dynosoar on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Cardinals in indy for 2012!

    (2011 season, February 2012 in Indy Super Bowl.)

    I like Horton already, he has the demeaner to bring the best from our defence and he had the intelligence to leave Pittsburgh and turn down the Cowboys in the same move. Very brilliant!

    Perhaps Coach Whiz isn’t trying to make us Stealers West, perhaps he’s rescuing people from the Stealers grip. AS long as the Cowboys, Giants, Stealers, 49ers and Redskins lose, I’m satisfied.

    As long as the Cardinals win, I’m ecstatic.

    Cardinals in Indy for 2012!

  29. By Frustrated on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Are any Denny Green coachs left?

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

    Frustrated —

    RE: Denny Green coaches

    Courtright was the last coach from Green’s staff who remained.

  31. By BigRedFan on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    And the transition to “Steelers West” continues . . .

  32. By Dynosoar on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    2011 season is ours!

    Horton at third is an upgrade over the past. Warner, Fitzgerald, Wilson, Roads, Feely and Porter are future HofF, let’s spread this to more. Let’s have five defensive players skip next years Pro-Bowl because their in the Super Bowl.

    Is the glass half empty or half full. Pur it into a different glass and we’re full. New DC = different glass. Heh Heh Heh. Can’t wait.

  33. By Dynosoar on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply


    What’s the feel around the complex? Me? I’m feeling an edge of the seat excitement?

    Thanks Darren for the work you do for us Cardinal zealots. I’ve perused other sites from time to time and there’s none better at reporting than ours. Thanks.

    I’m done for the day.

    Cards in Indy for 2/12!

  34. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    so what happened to butler?

  35. By SSG Tim Roberts on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, talk about big changes. I like it. A more agressive defense is just the shot the team needs. Now we just need to get the offense moving and they should rock. Any word yet on who they plan to bring in as QB yet?

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

    SSG Tim Roberts —

    RE: QB

    Can’t do anything until a new CBA is reached.

  37. By CJ on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    I like his attitude. i never liked the idea of our defense going into a revent defense on passing downs, giving qbs to much time to throw. bring the pressure and force him to make a mistake. weve got some talent for him to work with so hes not starting from scratch, especially our young LB’s

  38. By RelayTV on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    The problem with blitzing alot is that you have to have cornerbacks than can cover man to man, and not get beaten. For whatever the reason, we have not had that, even during our Superbowl run. (Santonio Holmes beat 3 of our DB’s on his game-winning catch.)

    We absolutely MUST get another top quality cornerback for this new, aggressive defense to work. Patrick Peterson from LSU has all the raw talent we need, and will probably be available to us at #5, but…
    What if Peterson takes a season to adjust to his new team/playbook/etc. like DRC did? Can we afford to wait another season?

    Can Whiz?

    I’d rather have a proven playmaker like Nnamdi. Asomogha, who is BY FAR the best cornerback in the league. (Yes, even better than Revis.) Even Fitz was singing his praises.

    But Nnamdi will be expensive. Very expensive, and we all know what that means.

  39. By jocards on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Personally I like the game Horton is talking, obviously we’ll need to see results on the field but I do like the sound of things. Bringing the blitz of course carries risks, you’d better get to the QB which was a big issue for this team last season. Horton does seem to have a bit of a “swagger” if a coach can have that, he believes he’s the guy for the job. One word of caution though, a new coach coming in saying he plans to play a much more aggressive style of defense does not in and of itself mean that defense is going to be any better. The players must execute the plan well. I’m sure that getting lit up time and again was not a part of Bill Davis’ defensive game plan. The players didn’t make the plays they needed to make. Before everybody jumps on me, I am not defending Davis. What I am saying is that players need to make plays within any system and last season too often our defense failed to do that. Let’s hope we find out in 2011 that the problem was more with scheme than it was with personnel.

  40. By Wampag on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    thanks D and yeah he did seem like the right guy in the press conference lets see if we can finally get some kind of pass rush DRC and Adams would thrive in that type of system

  41. By jocards on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    News flash folks; coaches hire people that they feel comfortable with and that come from systems they believe in all the time. Whisenhunt is not the first to do this nor is there anything necesaarily wrong with it. Bashing the hiring of Ray Horton merely because he’s another ex-Steeler coach is silly. Let’s see what he brings to our defense before deciding whether or not he was a good hire. When he talks about his defensive philosophy it seems like a breath of fresh air for this team, we’ll see how it translates on the field.

  42. By D on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    3 Free agents on O-line is not good-granted they already have a replacement on the roster for Faneca, but they don’t have another starting center or guard and one tackle is suspect–do we see a franchise tag being used on Deuce or Sendlien?

  43. By JohnnyV on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply


    When do you think the Cards may start releasing players even though there is no current CBA? Other teams are already starting to unload some dead weight. When do guys like Andersen, Porter and Hayes get shown the door?


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

    JohnnyV —

    RE: Releasing players

    Here’s the thing: If the labor situation goes so long free agency is canceled out, do you want to dump a bunch of players? Unless a guy as a roster bonus coming as soon as the league year starts, it doesn’t hurt to wait.

  45. By Voice of Reason on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Horton in the interview came across intelligent and articulate. He certainly has the right mentor, and has been under him for many years both as a defensive player and coach. And most importantly, he has someone here with a very similar skill set to Polomalu — Adrian Wilson.

    Here’s betting A-W has a big year next year.

    Also betting now we go defense in Round 1 (perhaps Peterson/Prince A at CB opposite DRC)? The last few years you could get a linebacker late in Round 1/top of Round 2 (Lauranitis/Malauga come to mind).

    If they want Kolb, I think we could get him for our #3 and a swap of our fourth round picks. Or give them the #4 and swap second round picks. Tell the Eagles that we can get Orton — who has extensive starting experience — for the #3 alone all day long. But either way we trade for Orton or Kolb.

    Then good teams would bring in Bulger as well, and let the competition begin. Waive DA and Hall now, so they have a chance to latch on to other teams. Also makes a statement that bad play gets you fired.

    I also like exploring acquiring Greg Olsen from the Bears, perhaps for the seocnd round pick we get in the Eagles trade.

    The net of the two would be our second and fourth round picks for Kevin Kolb and Greg Olsen.

    C’mon Rod, this stuff isn’t that complicated.

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

    Voice —

    RE: Ideas

    You had me until you said Kolb could be had for a third-round pick. Your “Reason” went right out the window.

  47. By brad ON eill on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    i know this team doesnt like chasing down really expensive fa’s. but I think asomugha would be a 6 year solution to our corner troubles. I would love to see him and drc covering up the wideouts while the offense tries to figure out if Wilson, schofield or washington is coming after the qb. The speed of washington makes him very dangerous. and we all know how adrian treats qbs. I saw enough out of schofield last year to be confident that the guy will make us better. i cant wait to see him blitzing healthy.

  48. By Khardz on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Eagles are going to milk the heck outa kolb.

  49. By brad ON eill on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    We trade down our 1st pick to new england for both of their first round picks.

    we trade the later first round pick to philadelphia for kolb.

    we pick up asomugha , tyson clabo from atlanta offensive lineman and bulger in free agency.

    then i would be a happy cardinals fan.

    oh ill be happy anyway but a guy can dream cant he.

  50. By Voice of Reason on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, just a tad condescending, don’t you think? Seriously, I think you’ve been hanging out with Rod Graves too much. You say “no way” without actually thinking about it.

    Look, you’ve been doing this a long time. So you know that: 1. The asking price isn’t ever the settled upon price. 2. The ultimate price is ALWAYS reflective of the other options in the market. When there are fewer options, the price goes up. Lots of options = price goes down. There are lots of options, both in free agency and via a trade, this year. 3. Philadelphia will be franchising Vick, and are unlikely to want to invest a substantial sum in a backup that will be gone as a free agent the following year anyway.

    Now, the plus for the Eagles: the Cards aren’t the only team that needs a quarterback. Mark down at least the 49ers and Vikings. More suitors means affects price too.

    But the long and short is this — tell me the last time a backup quarterback with limited starting experience has fetched a first round selection in a trade (much less in the top half)?

    So I believe, at the end of the day, Kolb could be had for not just any third round pick, but one at the top (which is where the Cards sit). Or I’d consider trading seconds and giving them a fourth too. The reason: Orton will be had for a #3. Is Kolb that much better than Orton? Let’s face it — either guy would have won the division for us this year.

    So the analysis is simple, if the Eagles will not budge off of OUR #2, than keep the pick and get Orton for a #3. Or trade our #3 and a later round pick to move back into the mid to late second round and offer THAT pick to the Eagles for Kolb. But I don’t give up a top 40 pick for him, not with the holes the Cards have.

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

    Voice —

    RE: Kolb II

    Seriously, I didn’t mean to be condescending. And most of the time, I think you make thought-out statements. But seriously, a third for Kolb? It reminded me of a long-ago talk radio call here in town that suggested — not jokingly — that the Suns should deal Kurt Rambis, Negele Knight and Tim Perry for Hakeem Olajuwon (who was at the top of his game).

    In this case, since the Eagles don’t have to trade Kolb, not only would they not take a 3, but I’m not even sure they’d take a 2. If they’d take a 3, I’d think the other four teams with higher 3rd round picks would get Kolb first.

    Matt Schaub hadn’t done anything in Atlanta and Houston coughed up 2 second-round picks for him. And the only reason Atlanta traded him was because (irony noted here) they had Michael Vick in place for the future. Vick is now blocking Kolb, but he’s not under contract, he’s older (Vick was a rookie in 2001, don’t forget) and there is no way to be sure he’s long-term. Maybe he is, but again, for Kolb’s $1.5 million salary next year, the Eagles can afford to be picky.

    If the Eagles would take a 2, I’d think this team (or any other) would make that deal in a heartbeat.

    P.S. Trust me, I think about it. The beauty of the job. I think NFL at work all day.

  52. By Voice of Reason on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    And I don’t break the bank for Asomugha. You take Patrick Peterson or Prince A at #5. Younger. Cheaper (than Asomugha would be). Secondary is set for years.

  53. By D on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    If there is no free agency, the Cards are in trouble, your looking at Skelton starting next year, and developing a 3-4th round qb from the draft and waiting for next offseason…this team has more holes than the draft can fill…

  54. By Scott H on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Given what we’ve been through with two years of Billy Davis, it’s great to see changes being made. Time will tell, but new faces offer new hope that things can be better.

  55. By Eazy E on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    I’m not given a 2 for kolb, that is basically a 1. We need to pay Asomugha Dammit. Fitz even said he was the toughest CB he’s faced this season and that includes champ who had an outstanding year and you pair nnamdi with DRC, that is cold. He like revis but not over asomugha.

  56. By andrew on Feb 10, 2011 | Reply

    Rick Courtright is the man! Cardinals screw up again just ask the players.

  57. By Voice of Reason on Feb 11, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, and I mean this most respectfully, there is a HUGE difference between a high third round pick for Kolb and the downright nutty idea of Rambis/Knight/Perry for a almost-in-his-prime Hakeem (or was he Akeem then?). The former is about negotiation, understanding there are other options out there; the latter is objectively ridiculous. No fair comparing the two.

    Plus, a good GM can get creative. If Philly just has to have a second, use that third and perhaps a fifth or sixth to move back up into the second round, and then offer that pick up for him. Good GMs get creative on draft day to manufacture the consideration needed to get the players they want.

    Or if Philly holds firm on wanting our high #2, politely turn it down and look to Kyle Orton. Use that #2 on the best center in the draft.

    Remember, Orton has more starting experience, a very good arm, and can be had for our #3. Heck, when push comes to shove, we might be able to get him for a lower third round pick that we pick up from someone else. The Cards don’t exactly need Manning or Brady to win THIS division.

    And on Schaub — other than being the hot name for a couple of years beforehand, which led to the desperate two second round pick trade, what has he done in Houston? In four seasons, he has gone 9-7 once, 8-8 twice, and 6-10 last year. No playoff appearances. And he was the only young quarterback available via trade that year.

    Here, at least three come to mind: Kolb, Orton, and, going a little older, Carson Palmer. Not to mention the large number of free agent quarterbacks that are available, all of whom are significant upgrades over what we had last year.

    To give up that high second, the Cards better be very sure of what they are getting in Kolb. Just seems high to me.

  58. By Darren Urban on Feb 11, 2011 | Reply

    Voice —

    RE: Trade

    I think you’re right, I think he was Akeem then.

  59. By Scott H on Feb 11, 2011 | Reply

    Voice of reason –

    And until the CBA issue is resolved, Kolb isn’t going anywhere. Neither is anyone else. The Cardinals can’t trade ANYTHING for ANYONE as long as trades can’t even take place. So, forget about draft picks, forget what you think Kolb’s value is, forget any/all history of trades for QB’s, forget everything right now. Until the CBA thing is done, it’s all about as moot as moot can be.

  60. By Scott H on Feb 12, 2011 | Reply

    Voice of Reason –

    Shoot, I woud take Schaub in a hot second if that possibility ever existed. I had an eye on him when he was still in Atlanta behind Michael Vick. I actually wanted the Cards to trade for him instead of drafting a rookie…which, of course, became Matt Leinart. Turns out, Warner made me glad that never happened. But now that Warner is gone…give me Matt Schaub any day. It ain’t his fault Houston hasn’t had much success. Their defense is consistently horrible. Schaub is actually a big part of the reason why the Texans should even be in the discussion at all. He’s a heck of a QB and just now in his prime. And after a season of Derek Anderson…Matt Schaub looks like Steve Young! And with the Cardinals offensive philosophy ( pass, pass, pass ) and weapons at WR, Schaub would put up monster numbers here. But there’s no way Houston is letting him go anywhere, so…never mind.

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