Horton’s coaching dream

Posted by Darren Urban on February 9, 2012 – 4:11 pm

Last month, defensive coordinator Ray Horton interviewed for the then-vacant head coaching job for the St. Louis Rams, the job later taken, as expected, by Jeff Fisher. It was a longshot, which Horton certainly knew, but it was a chance to do something he hadn’t done before, and eventually becoming a head coach is part of his ultimate dream.

“I didn’t say anything to anybody,” Horton said, “but one of the things burning inside of me is, as a player I have won a Super Bowl, as an (assistant) coach I have won a Super Bowl, I’d like to win one as a coordinator and I’d like to win one as a head coach. No one has ever done that. I think it will happen. My only regret is we didn’t win an NCAA championship (when he played at Washington). We were close.”

To complete his trail of titles, Horton still needs that Super Bowl win as a coordinator, which he might as well get in Arizona, right? Not surprisingly, being a head coach — aside from the Super list — is something he eventually wants to do. It doesn’t have to be soon, though.

“Do I think about being a head coach? You’d be silly to say you don’t, at some point, when you are driving home or when you are on vacation or something,” Horton said. “But is it something that consumes me? No. I love what I am doing now. It’s weird, I have a pat answer for someone who asks, ‘Do you like Arizona?’ I don’t like Arizona. I love it. The team, the organization, the fans.

“It’s unbelievable to walk into the community, and I am really a quiet person, and to go into a store and have a father say to his daughters, ‘Look girls, do you know who that is?’ The fan base here … I know our team is going to be good. I know that. But you go into the community, I am overwhelmed by the support we get.”

Posted in Blog | 40 Comments »

40 Responses to “Horton’s coaching dream”

  1. By Nick Pepe on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    ‘Do you like Arizona?’ I don’t like Arizona. I love it. The team, the organization, the fans.

    I love this quote. I truly believe we are establishing something special. I hope he reaches all his goals.

    It starts with believing.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  2. By Mark21 on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply


    This has nothing to do with article but what do you think of the cards with red face masks? I think it would give a whole new look to our uniforms and make them look fierce. What do you think? Feel free to pass this on to management of you like it 🙂

  3. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    Cardinals must be doing something right.
    Grimm was possible to the Jaguars.
    Horton to the Rams.
    McNulty to the Bucs.
    And Keim for GM also to the Rams.

    Not bad for an 8-8 team, eh?

  4. By NMCardsFan on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    We will be lucky if the Cardinals can keep Coach Horton for three more years. Look at the second half of the season and that alone speaks volumes about the kind of coach he is. I wish him all the luck in the future so how about winning a championship while he is there. Go Cardinals!

  5. By Jwit on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    I am so relieved that Horton will return. If you believe that the offense can only get better with a full offseason of work then imagine what the defense will be like. It takes a lot of pressure off of the offense and allows our run attack be what it was designed to be… A lot of fans have been trashing our O-line that in all fairness needs to improve; but our O-line is built for the run game. I’m not too concerned about our QB’s nor our O-line as I believe both after a full off season will be fully capable of leading our offense with enough opportunities and good field position. Review 49ers season for a good example of how it’s done. IMO Horton remaining on our staff is the biggest/best thing to happen so far the Cards. Can’t wait… I cannot wait… Go Cards!

  6. By LUKE on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    thats nice of ray to say but cmon man he came from the most popular team in the nfl .overwhelmed.?dont know about that.haha.just hope he stays longer than one more year

  7. By shannon robinson on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    As a fan it was a struggle just to learn how to watch Coach Horton’s defense. You really have to be at the
    stadium to see who is on the field personnel-wise and to then watch the D-Line play their gap responsibilities. After that, who’s attacking as LB’s and where the coverage is downfield. No wonder it took so long for our team to really learn what Coach Horton’s scheme was all about. My goal this off-season is keep the defense intact. I was pleased to learn R Johnson is a restricted free agent & I’m sure we’ll sign R Marshall and Mr. Graves will do the big deal for C Campbell. S Bradley will play to his potential after he too learns how this system works. Yes Shannon is a guy but Classy Lassy is not out of order since I’ve said before I coach UNM Women’s Rugby Team.

  8. By WildCard on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply


  9. By clssylssy on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    I’m sooo thrilledwith Horton’s work in Arizona. He impresses me as a very intelligent and cunning guy and I can’t believe we were so fortunate as to acquire him on our staff. The Steelers have long been a very respected and favorite team of mine and we have done well by them…I think they have done well by us with the Haley acquisition so guess we’ve kept it “all in the family”. I sure hope that our offense will be able to come through and balance with the defense. If that happens, Horton may just get what he’s dreamed about. GO CARDS, FLY HIGH!

  10. By tawana tuggle on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    we r very honored to have a class act like ray horton to be a part of the arizona cardinals

  11. By sport245245 on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    I like what Ray Horton has done as a football coach. but I like his persona even more. Just watching him in Flagstaff, you could see the person. We asked him to pose for a photo and he did and was so engaging.

  12. By Chuck 1 on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    Graves, are you paying attention to how a successful franchise does business??? SEE BELOW (an article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

    Steelers’ Woodley, Timmons restructure deals

    The Steelers trimmed more than $10 million in salary-cap money this week when they restructured the contracts of linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons.

  13. By Shaun Church on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    That’s beautiful. I’m glad he’s happy here. Sounds like he’s a long-term hire after all; that, I was worried about for a while, assuming he would jump at the opportunity to be a head coach somewhere just to do it. Great stuff Darren.

  14. By Chuck Ellis on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    An Amazing Man

  15. By Hammy on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    Darren I think this is the biggest turn around from a defensive standpoint that I have seen ever in AZ. Horton has done an excellent job, I can remember when the Cards players just could not figure out his scheme early on but those last seven games gave this team alot of hope going into next season.

    Do you think the Cards will select a defensive player in the first round of this years draft to help solidify their defense?

  16. By Darren Urban on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    Hammy —

    RE: First round

    I have no idea what they will do in the first round. Way too early. Is there a chance it is defense? Certainly.

  17. By greg phibbs on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    It’s no stretch to predict that if he has as good a season this year as he did the 2nd half of last year he will be outta here. He’s a good man , period.
    would really hate to lose him.

  18. By Judy on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    I really wish Mr Horton good luck with his dreams.I just hope and pray that they come to be a fact here with the Cardinals.

  19. By Giorgio on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    i’m a big fan of the Cards-during the good and bad times-but if you notice only the weaker teams lose personnel (coaches and players) at a much greater rate than the teams that are highly successful year in and year out, like the Steelers, Packers, Saints, Pats, and the Giants of late. that says something! as an aside, but related, Coach Whiz seems like a great guy, and will surely do well here or anywhere, but we need to be remind ourselves that the Cards have not had solid play at Q-back since Jim Hart and Neil Lomax!! that’s forever fans. Whiz is an offensive coach that except w/a few years w/Kurt Warner, who was here before he came, the Q-backing has been slim to none.

  20. By D on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    free agents

    What I learned from some of the interviews our new coach has completed, Coach Reich really like P. Garcon as a player and person. Who is a UFA this spring, he has the speed, hands and youth to be a perfect #2 to Larry if we let Doucet leave.

    Also, another team to watch this spring is the Raiders. As we all saw last night, they cut a good player, sounds like more is coming from the black hole, a person to watch would be Kamerion Wimbley who could play OLB for the Cards. I hear we were interested in him the last time he was available…

  21. By awesomest wilson on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    horton is a guy we can elevate to head coach around week 5 when we start out really at my wits end.i live in phila with all of these nfc east fans and im no longer getting my back to tired of excuses and whiz doesnt even give any.

  22. By John the Draft Guy on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    I was looking at the list of free agent WRs. All I can say is Wow.

    Then I began to think, what will this flood of talent do to the draft? Could some really talented WRs fall out of the first and second rounds that normally wouldn’t? Will that change the cards approach in FA?

    I would love to get Garcon here. But at 5-7 million, can we? I don’t know.

    “Chuck 1”
    Love the post. I guess we can dream Graves makes some bold moves.

    I would love to get a great pass rusher like Whitney Mercilus. I only watched him twice (2 games), but he reminds me of Demarcus Ware.

    Problem is, we haven’t drafted a Offensive Lineman in the last 3 years and only 2 late rounders since Levi Brown went in the first in 07. As appealing as getting a pass rusher would be, we have to address that OLine at some point. With the expected release of Brown, it might as well be now.

  23. By John the Draft Guy on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    Awesomest Wilson

    Remember, they were calling for Coughlin to be fired in NY. this year.

    Jon Gruden was traded for a first round pick. Was considered the golden child after a superbowl win, only to be shown the door. Tampa hasn’t done that great since.

    We can list tons of examples, but Whiz is the same coach today as he was in 08. He has had really poor play out of the QB spot, and until the second half last year, underachieving defenses. Let’s see with this offseason to work with his QBs, whether its Kolb, Skelton, or Manning, an improved defense and hopefully, an improved Oline, how he does.

    You might be surprised.

  24. By Louisville Card on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    @not so awesome Wilson

    Really???….What was it about the last 8 games of the season makes you think the Cards will start off 1-4? You’re at your whit’s end with Whiz??? Even georgiebird has backed off his Whiz bashing for now….

  25. By drummer-1 on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    @ awesomest wilson…

    What the H*ll are you ranting about?

  26. By Dylan on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    Darren- whats crazier a cardinal fan on espn saying the cardinlas are going to trade dockett, maybe even cut him because he isn’t good anymore or the cardinals getting peyton manning?

  27. By Darren Urban on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    Dylan —

    RE: Crazy

    Honestly, with all due respect to everyone on here, crazy from fans doesn’t faze me anymore. I see too much of it.

  28. By DontTakeLoses on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    Read Urb’s articles on Horton and McNulty…I’m stoked about the quality of the coaching staff. Coach ’em up! Go Cards.

  29. By georgiebird on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    Per Ray Horton- “… do we need better players or a better scheme”.
    Does that mean the Cards will consider a 4-3 defense? I hope so. When the Cards are still considering guys like Haggans and Lenon, it shows that the quality of the LB group is not where it should be.
    A team like the Giants can afford some mediocrity at LB because the front four is so awesome. But in a 3-4 scheme, the LBs have to be exceptional.
    I know my comments will be consider negative on this site (but realistic everywhere else). If we had faced some top-flite QBs in the last nine games, I would be more optimistic. It’s always those 10 plays in every game where the elite QBs get things done by outsmarting/outguessing/outplaying the defense.

  30. By Mike Ellingboe on Feb 11, 2012 | Reply


    Your “realistic” comments don’t take into account that the Giants were 29th in the league in pass defense. They weren’t so great themselves against the pass – gave up some pretty big games to QB’s that wouldn’t be considered “elite,” either.

    What they did do was sneak into the playoffs and got hot at the right time. Not sure where all the criticism of Lenon comes in, and we may have finally found some answers at OLB – although I will say, if we’re going to chase a potential (key word being potential) big name free agent I’d rather see us go after Mario Williams than Peyton Manning.

  31. By Dylan on Feb 11, 2012 | Reply

    Georgia- why consider a 4-3 after the way the Defense played the whole second half with a 3-4

  32. By Born n Bred on Feb 11, 2012 | Reply

    Wow still there is talk about turning to a 4-3 D.. wow… So because the Giants can produce pressure with thier front 4 of studs, i guess every one can get that pressure that runs that kind of D..huh.. I dont get what ppl see.. Where in our D line is the personel for a 4-3 line or even at the OLB spot in a 4-3..(besides DD) Ive read laughalbe stuff as such as CC being a 3-4 OLB because it will be like Mario Williams.. wow.. those two couldnt be different Playeres.. CC a 4-3 D end.. wow.. again just look at CC and the other 4-3 Dends and tell me if CC has the Quickness and burst from the 4-3 spot, now at the 3-4 spot he is a prototypical end and has the quick and burst from the angle and spot… not further out..

  33. By Andy K on Feb 11, 2012 | Reply

    Is the Cardinals organization taking in consideration signing Steve Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Lloyd, etc.?

  34. By earl on Feb 11, 2012 | Reply

    I would rather have even a 85% to 90% Peyton Manning than Kolb any day, just Peytons knowledge of the game is like having a coach on the field, so let me tell you what will happen, all this talk and new signings are not for nothing he will get a good incentive based contract and we take the chance of winning now just like we did with warner, but we cannot stop there Peyton will have a Fitz but he will need some familiarity early on with WR, so we will bring in Pierre Garcon to be the number 2 and we are set.
    see you in the playoffs every year for at least 3 to 4 years. and perhaps a few Superbowl appearances ???????????????What do you think , I already made the changes on Madden12 ,looks sweet!!! lololo, yeah I know “get a life”

  35. By William Barry on Feb 12, 2012 | Reply

    It is truly great that Horton is staying in the organization, and even more important that Steve Keim, is also staying with the organization…Championships are built with defense and coaching staff cohesiveness….On to winning the NFC West next year!!!!!!

  36. By Mike Ellingboe on Feb 12, 2012 | Reply


    It all sounds great, but assuming Manning is both healthy and available I’m not sure how we sign him, Garcon, and CC without obliterating the cap.

  37. By cards62 on Feb 12, 2012 | Reply

    Chuck 1

    Very good post, and I hope Mr. Graves does the same thing.
    A. Wilson will be a good start and if we do not bring in another QB I think Kevin Kolb will work, and I think Larry will restructure to get some more talent.

    I am very glad Ray Horton is staying. I know we actually wanted Butler from Pittsburg. I did not know what we had in Horton when he came to Arizona, but I am sure excited to see our defense in 2012.

    Go Cards and Rod Graves you are on the clock

  38. By Scott H on Feb 12, 2012 | Reply

    earl –

    Well, glad to see that you have this all worked out. Unfortunately, Madden may be the only place where Manning will ever throw another pass. Sad, but true. It sounds like he is a long way from throwing a football with any kind of velocity right now. And who knows if he ever will?

  39. By Scott H on Feb 12, 2012 | Reply

    I am REALLY looking forward to seeing this defense continuing to grow and develop under Horton. Unfortunately, a full season of them playing at the same level they played the 2nd half of last season will probably put him on a lot of radars and make him a top candidate to be a HC somewhere else. But…what can ya do? Such is life in the NFL anymore.

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