Gruden planned as coaching candidate

Posted by Darren Urban on January 6, 2013 – 6:44 pm

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.

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53 Responses to “Gruden planned as coaching candidate”

  1. By Scott H on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Sigh…I don’t know, maybe there is no real rush…but why does it feel like there really is no direction here? I realize there are many moving parts to a situation like this, but…given the way this team has done things in recent years, it just FEELS like grasping at straws.

    If I’m Ray Horton and I have been here for 2 years as a corrdinator and I’ve had 2 int’s for the HC position, yet the Cardinals are still getting permission to speak to others and scheduling others for int’s….how am I supposed to feel about that??? Sure wouldn’t feel to me like I was the guy they wanted. Which might make me feel like I might want to be somewhere else.

    And if I’m Lovie Smith, who just went 10-6 this past season, i think I’d be wondering why the Cardinals, who lost 11 of their last 12 games this past season, haven’t called.

    And if I’m the Cardinals, who have been about as painfully inept on offense over the past 3 seasons as any team could be, why am I not trying to land an offensive mastermind like Norv Turner to take over that side of the ball?

  2. By Darren Urban on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: direction

    With all due respect, I’m not sure how you can look at just the list of names — unable to know how the interviews happen, what Bidwill is thinking and what questions are being asked — and have even a feeling of what this is.

    I get everyone wants to know. And I guess you can feel any way you want. But I don’t get how anyone would feel positive or negative. The search is going on. Other than Reid skipping out on an interview — and the Chiefs gave him the moon to make sure that happened — nothing has happened that wasnt expected. I mentioned the other day I expected more candidates. Gruden is the latest. Hasn’t even been a week.

  3. By AndyStandsUp on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Conventional thought that the GM will be be selected before the coach, Darren?
    And how much would that influence the HC choice?

  4. By Darren Urban on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    AndyStands –

    RE: GM

    Bidwill said during his presser he wanted the best fit. He said he wouldn’t necessarily pick one first over the other.

  5. By D on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Jay Gruden? Didn’t Michael watch that playoff game vs Houston?

  6. By Eric on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply


    Any word how the interview went with McCoy?

  7. By Scott H on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Anyone see Boldin’s performance today for the Ravens? Amazing. Very happy for him. Anquan Boldin has the kind of character and toughness that was the reason for the turn-around and success ( albeit brief ) that we had here in 2008-2009. And it is the LACK of that same character and toughness that has VERY QUICKLY brought us back down to where we are today.

    That, and the lack of a QB…and an O-line…and a running game…and many other things…

  8. By MIKE G on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is well! I hope the Card’s don’t pursue Jay Gruden. Not a big fan. If his last name was not Gruden he would not be in this league coaching. I would be vey disappointed if he were coach. I dont see what he accomplihed to get an interview. He coached under his brother in Tampa and has done nothing since. The Bengals are a mess offensively and Dalton is regressing under Gruden as offensive coordinator. It would be a mistake for the Cards to hire hime let alone consider him as a coach on their staff. Please Mike Bidwill dont hire him! Hey Darren—Dont you think Dalton is regressing under Gruden–Bengals are a defensive team–they’re offense has under-acheived!! What do you think????

  9. By Jbpt37 on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    My thought is that they are still playing coy…keep in mind Mr Bidwill said he was going to interie college coaches too…& yet no college coach as of yet….could it be that he’s waiting on a certain coach in Alabama to have some free time? Hmmmm…..(I really hope so!!)

  10. By Scott H on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Gee, isn’t it swell to see the hated Seahawks moving on in the playoffs behind a first-year rookie QB while the Cardinals just take one swing and a miss after another at that position?

    Darren –

    RE: Direction

    I hear you, and I DID acknowledge that perhaps there really is no rush at this point AND that I recognize there are a lot of moving parts involved in this situation. Yes, this is mostly my frustration talking here. I know that. And I know I probably sound like a petulant little brat at times. But, my God, man…after the way things have gone around here in recent years ( OR should I say decades ), what do you expect?

  11. By Darren Urban on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: reaction

    Again, I can’t tell you how to feel. I guess, given that the last hire at least started well, I just think I’m going to let this play out.

  12. By vegas4u2012. on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    @-???(HOW ABOUT THOSE VIKINGS).I’ll tell you,their in the same place as 24 other teams now-(GONE!)As for JayGruden,all for him,as long as he can bring his father along as the HC.At least Horton has earned respect within this organization now!And as for those still dwelling in the past,Even if we would of interviewed Reid,no way we would of hired him anyhow,because we would not have offered him the same amount of (GUARANTEED) Barbecue that KC.did.GO BIG RED!!

  13. By Curt on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply


    Why no mention of Chip Kelly? I am quite shocked that a coach like Kelly was in town fielding interviews after the Fiesta bowl and the Cardinals did not participate. Why would the Bidwells pass on a coach who successfully thrives in college football with his unique offense? Combine an offensive mind like Kelly and Horton… that would be exciting! I’d renew my season seats! Whats the deal?

  14. By syncro9z on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Greetings from Denver! Watched the whole season unfold through Sunday Ticket on my TV. I left town day after Eagles game and… well, I guess i was lucky to not be in attendance. Still i missed the U of Phx stadium and given the chance, would have flown down to a game no matter the outcome. Staying loyal here was not hard, although I was the punchline of many Sunday jokes around my shop. Anyway, here’s my question. Denver was heavily reporting Mike McCoy’s interview with the Cards this morning. It has the sneaky feel that something was said on a very positive not and McCoy may really want the job. If this is the case and a deal has been made; What are the rules out of courtesy for Denver’s current superbowl campaign? Does Mr. Bidwill have to wait for a specific date to make an annouoncement? If the Donkeys make it all the way to the superbowl,Do the Cards have to wait until its over? hope to read a reply, and know theres a strong member of the #birdgang family in Denver!!!

  15. By Darren Urban on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Synchro —

    RE: McCoy

    Don’t know if there is a rule. Don’t necessarily think anything is imminent.

  16. By cardinals2005 on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Honestly, I’ll be totally shock is the HC is no Ray Horton and Nerv Turner as his OC and Alex Smith signing with the Cardinals in the offseason

  17. By philly cards 1994- on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    The more I think about it u need good technique in arena ball so jay could be ok.
    I think we need a gm who has more juice than the coach but that’s not what’s available.

    If you want horton you can hire the gm inhouse too.
    If you go with peytons oc then you need something else.

  18. By georgiebird on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Tough day today for Cardinals’ fans:
    1) Boldin was the star of the day
    2) Seahawks victory elevated the NFC West to best division in Football

    Cardinals are definitely in the toughest position of all the teams looking. Even if Horton stays, Cards have to get the OC right as well as the HC or DC. So much to do, I hope they go for the GM first. And the division will make progress difficult. Just think of the NFC West if the Rams had taken RGIII last year and traded Bradford.

  19. By Ben on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Is idzik getting an interview?

  20. By Darren Urban on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Ben —

    RE: Idzik

    Not that I have heard.

  21. By Tim on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks for all the daily updates. Greatly appreciated!!!

    Like all of you I have my own theory on how the Cardinals coaching situation will play out. Let me know what you think:

    1. Before a HC gets hired the Cardinals hire a GM. Wouldn’t you want your new GM to have a say in the next HC? You would think so.

    2. Once the GM is in place the Cardinals will wait to see if DC Ray Horton gets an offer from the teams he interviewed for. Before hiring a head coach knowing the status of DC Horton is key. My guess is the Cardinals internally believe Horton will not get a HC job this year and once that appears inevitable- they know they have their DC is place and can hire an head coach.

    3. With the GM and DC in place the Cardinals hire a head coach that fits perfect to their offensive needs. My guess is (in this order) McCoy, Gruden and Haley.

    Go Cardinals!

  22. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    I think the whole Kelly NFL-flirtation was nothing more than a ruse to get a bigger payday from Oregon, and apparently it has worked. Pretty common tactic in amongst college coaches, although most flirt with bigger name college schools to get a raise from the university their currently coaching.

  23. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Nerv Turner? 😉

  24. By Steve on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: Bidwill is probably doing the right thing by doing his due diligence on all the candidates. Do you have any idea if Todd Haley will in fact interview? Several media outlets reported that Haley isnt sure how sincerely interested the Cards are in hiring him so their in a holding pattern of sorts, any truth to that in your opinion?

  25. By Darren Urban on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Haley

    I have not heard if anything was set up. I wouldn’t be surprised if Haley wants some assurances, but I’m not sure at what level he’d be able to get them if at all.

  26. By Jerrytown on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    I agree about the GM position being filled sooner than later…I haven’t read anything about any other interviews lined up, do you know of any? Bidwill said he wanted a football guy running the team. Steve Keim is a great football guy and he knows this team well. He’s been with the Cards since ’99 and has worked his way up from east coast regional scout to VP of player personnel. This guy knows talent and is a huge reason why our defense is stocked with standout young players…and our skill positions on offense are solid as well. He doesn’t make the draft decisions so don’t think that he holds blame for the lack of draft attention toward the O-line in the last decade, that’s all Graves and Green/Whiz…he just finds the talent. I’m not sure how much he knows about the art of contract negotiations, but as a football guy he is legit. And he sat in on the interview with Horton, not sure about the others, so that could be a way for Bidwill to get a look at how he conducts an interview and what kind of questions he asks. I think he is the guy and I would bet he is offered a contract this week, perhaps it’s already in the works! Then he and Bidwill can mull over the options at HC and make their decision together.

    I’m really excited for the future of this team. I love Michael Bidwill as an owner, I think he is really passionate about his team and his players and staff, and he understands the needs of the fans. Sure, the Cards were cheap in the past and that stigma seems to have stuck with them, but the fact is that they have spent at or near the cap ceiling pretty much every year since Michael took over the checkbook. The whole “Cards are cheap” and “Same old Cards” stuff doesn’t really apply to us anymore. We haven’t had the best records recently, but we try now. We don’t let our homegrown stars walk out now. We got a new stadium to benefit the fans and the players. We changed up the logo and uni’s and went with a harder look. The culture of this team is different at it’s core, it’s better. I’m proud to be a Cardinals fan and I’m behind Michael’s decisions 100%. For better or worse, Birdgang for life.

  27. By Bill L on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Gruden ……Maybe. But NO DEFENSIVE HC…..and NO YES MAN as GM, who would rather build BillBoards and Banners than a consistently winning Franchise. Any HC had better get final say over the draft……or, he has NO CHANCE….IMO. Somebody paid Fitz 15 MILLION with NO O-LINE and NO QB………and, I can’t believe any GM is THAT Ignorant……..those orders must have come from the penthouse…… con more butts into the seats. Well time has come to pay the piper…… the madhouse as an NFL franchise, or watch even the most ignorant fans STAY AWAY in droves………no mor Edge BS fixes……or Fitz Huge contracts that add virtually nothing to an otherwise PATHETIC O……..Maybe BIDWILL is stuck……..put something believable on the Field…….or become a full fledged Laughing Stock……….much more interesting than who coaches and who is GM………is the con-game over……..for atleast awhile……….gotta build up some street cred. eh BID?………can fool all the people some of the time…..and some of the people all………….well, you get it…….right?

  28. By sarah on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    While interesting and a novel interview the Cards needs someone who has substantial offensive experience and head coaching, I say look at Marc Trestman. This could turn into a farce and flavor of the month, experience counts. Tampa tried the youth coach after John Gruden’s termination (Gruden did well there )and it failed. Whiz was an offensive guy who landed the job without head coaching experience and it caught up with him.

  29. By dieselbomb on Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

    Darren –

    If The Falcons mess-up yet again and show-up as a One-&-Done team, will Mike Smith be axed from Atlanta? And if so, would MBidwill be interested in courting Smith – who has had a pretty terrific record 2008 to 2012?

  30. By Darren Urban on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Diesel —

    RE: Atlanta

    Even if the Falcons fizzle again, I’m not sure Smith gets axed. And I’m not sure the Cards won’t already have a coach in place by next weekend. We’ll see.

  31. By Rich on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    HIRING – as someone who has hired alot of people, I can tell you that a decision this critical requires careful discussion and consideration. Bidwill is doing a fine job through this process. He has a plan, he is not rushed, his priorities are carfully considered. Let it play out.

  32. By Cardinalmark on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Since I live in Orlando, which is where Jay Gruden use to play, and coach the Orlando Predators, and take them to the playoffs every year! I can tell you he would be a pretty good choice for the Cardinals. He is a motivator,fiery Coach who really has a good re-poor with his players! Sure, the Bengals offensive has struggled this year, however, the Bengals still made the playoffs, and Dalton has progressed during the last two years. My first choice would be Horton, bring in Turner, and get Alex Smith, like alot of other Cardinal fans. Gruden could work with Horton as well, either as his Coach or Offensive Coordinator.

  33. By Corgon on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    I know it’s off topic, but it was really nice to see how Boldin performed yesterday. He’ll be a Card for me forever.

  34. By Scott H on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Darren –

    Ah, my friend, you are a good man and definitely the right man for the job you have. Obviously, I couldn’t do it! Yes, it will play out and I know there is nothing I can do about how it plays out, when it plays out, or the end result. So…I will wait. But probably not patiently and probably not without continued frustration. Certainly, by now, you know me well enough to know that.

    Thanks, bro.

  35. By D on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    What do the Ravens, Seattle, SF and Houston do well……hmmm….Run the Ball!
    Amazing what a solid run game would do for whoever the AZ QB will be next year. .

  36. By johnnybluenose on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Scott H. totally agree with you about boldin. he doesn’t look great going down the field. all he does is make big catches. he deserves all the praise he gets. he is in tough next week though. don’t see the ravens beating the broncos even with Q.

  37. By Cactus jeff on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    As a recap, who have the Cardinals interviewed for HC?

  38. By Darren Urban on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Cactus —

    RE: Recap

    I assume this is sarcasm?

  39. By Cert 33 on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Jay Gruden is an interesting choice to interview although he does not appear to be the offensive innovator that Mike McCoy is. Ray Horton would also be a top choice if paired up with the right OC. I think Bidwill is on the correct path in his decisions and should continue to be patient in his decisions. I am very grateful that the usual “name” retreads like Reid and L. Smith are not in the running for a position here. The Chiefs will be fighting the Raiders for last place in the AFC West next year, as usual. Reid and Smith would not be able to compete at all in the NFC West as their best years are behind them and their coaching styles are outdated for success in the NFC West.

  40. By Patrick Eagan on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    i really think the cardinals should at least talk to Lovie Smith.

  41. By Dynosoar on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Jbpt37 and all,

    If we’re looking at the college ranks, I’d rather have Brian Kelly or Chip Kelly or Urban Meyer than Nick Saban. (Although, I can see a solid arument being mabe for Mr. Saban, but I believe he’s entrenched and I’d have to dig a little, but he probably has more sallary and perks than some NFL head coaches.)

    The general feeling with fans and pundits everywhere is if someone doesn’t have NFL experience (college coaches) they shouldn’t be looked at for HC positions in the NFL. I don’t recall that San Francisco’s HC had any previous NFL experience before being hired other than vicariously through his father and brother and look what he’s done.

    I do believe in loyalty and love what Ray Horton has done for the Cardinals. I just don’t see a valid reason to ignore proven college HC’s because they don’t have previous NFL experience. I also don’t understand much of the conventional wisdom that Chip Kelly’s system wouldn’t work in the NFL.

    The same thing was said about the forward pass in the twenties. The same thing was said about ulcers being cured with a particular strain of antibiotics. The same thing was said about giving the world for RGIII. Thinking outside the box eliminated the outhouse (imagine game day if we always said “indoor plumbing wouldn’t work here, that’s only for the amateur level.”

    I’m not saying Chip Kelly is the answer, I just keep hearing in the papers and sports shows that his system wouldn’t work at the NFL level. I say prove it. Someone hire him because until proven wrong, I believe his system will take some team to the conference Championship if not the Suer Bowl within two years. Please, some team prove me worng.

    And Bryan Kelly, Urban Meyer from the college ranks would do the same. So will Ray Horton. We have at least four solid answers to put San FZrancisco, Seattle and Arizona in the playoffs each year. That would make for some fun wildcard weeks, we’d have at least one divisional matchup every wildcard weekend.

  42. By clssylssy on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Wow! It would appear that the candidates for the HC/GM job are about as dry as the Arizona desert in summer. I watched Mr. B’s interview with Ron Wolfley and was struck by his theme of…”I want a football guy as opposed to a cap guy or evaluator of talent who has three things: leadership, accountability, performance… someone who can work with our QBs and get us up to the level of the Seahawks and 49ers quickly”. ROFL! Is that all? I suspect that the reason Whiz got the boot was because he wanted a new QB next year and that the team’s failure should be on the shoulders of an owner who is not really a “football guy” I would say that the fans would like and deserve those same qualities in an owner! It certainly seems that Mr. B. is stuck on the KK train and isn’t looking to draft a quality QB, overlooking the main problem with Kolb, that being he can’t stay healthy enough to play. To get to the Seahawks level (or the 9ers) *rolls eyes* would be to sacrifice character and a clean organization for chemically enhanced players, and a lack of integrity in order to win at any cost while the entire league knows you cheat.
    Not surprised we haven’t heard back from Haley, he’s no dummy and knows the score in Arizona. College coaches don’t normally translate their success to the NFL because it’s a whole different world, they don’t have the necessary NFL contacts with quality and proven NFL coordinators.
    Was SO happy for my man Q and the RAVENS, my other birdteam…what a bittersweet day and awesome game; that’s an good example of a team with a bad QB who has been successful because of the fantastic defense and good offensive players like Boldin and Smith, etc. around Flacco.
    Wonder if Ron Wolfley would be interested in coaching…he has NFL experience, is a “football guy” and would probably be within the price range?

  43. By Raxan on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    I agree with Rich and am glad to see someone comment who has actual organizational responsibilities. I have also ran significant organizations. Hiring a HC and GM are decisions that are not easily undone. I like the way Bidwill is going about it, we need to get the right people in place, especially in a very competitive division where we are going backward. I agree with his letting go of so many on the offensive side of the ball, makes it easier for the new GM and HC when they don’t have to evaluate and fire current coaches. He is doing the right thing in my opinion on interviewing several candidates for the open positions. Even if he knows who he might hire he is getting insights on the Cardinal situation from professional coaches who interview, which can help him on his decision making. We have to get this right or we could be behind for years.

  44. By Mike on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    I recently graduated from ASU and am currently looking for another job. My passion has always been with football and specifically with the cardinals. I have been a season ticketholder for all Fitz career. I have witnessed all the good, the bad, and the ugly the cardinals have displayed over the years. I was wondering if you or the cardinals had any job openings. I can send a resume upon request.

    keep up the good work!

  45. By Brian on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Everyone relax regarding the pace of this thing. Only 2 of the what 7 HC openings have been filled. All teams are doing their diligence and a lot of the quality coaches are still in the playoffs. We are going to keep hearing names because why wouldn’t we talk to all possible candidates? Maybe someone comes out of nowhere and wows Bidwill. We’ll probably hear about a new coordinator as soon as their team loses in the playoffs. Are we falling behind at all for not having a HC in place right now? NO.

  46. By Devin on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    I love Ray and want him to stay with the Cardinals but I don’t see Ray being able to change our offense enough to make himself successful. I love the thought of the QB Whisperers coming in but you cant make a thoroughbred out of a Donkey.

  47. By AndyStandsUp on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    @Darren and Mike
    Heck, I love and follow the Cards also and would welcome a job that has anything to do with the team.
    And btw, I can throw a screen pass.

  48. By johnnybluenose on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, Mike and AndyStandsUp. me too. i can make all the throws !!

  49. By BIG RED on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Just sign Horton, why all the suspence. We know he’ll end up being the coach or his gone. Which would be very stupid on the cardinals side.

  50. By Scott H on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Darren –

    If I could just expand on one aspect of needing to fill so many coaching vacancies at the same time as so many other teams that adds to my angst….I think we both know that when any HC vacancy is filled, that person starts grabbing assistants and coordinators PRONTO. So…I guess I just feel that the longer we hang out there while other teams are moving forward, the fewer candidates may be available. And I think that is point with some validity.

    Chiefs and Bills have their HC’s in place and we know they are moving forward building their staff’s as we speak.

    BTW…I really do not hear Whisenhunt’s name being mentioned much at all. Would you say there is a better chance he is an OC this year, if he is anywhere?

  51. By Darren Urban on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Whisenhunt

    I don’t know how to handicap Whiz’s 2013 chances. Is he in the Browns’ plans now that Kelly is out? Could he be an OC? Many HC candidates are asked in their interviews their staff plans. Is he one if he is going for HC jobs?

    Here’s another question — with his defensive staff still in Arizona and his offensive staff having struggled as a unit, who is Whiz getting for assistants if he got a HC job?

  52. By johnnybluenose on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

    darren. how many assistants would whiz need in the arena football league?

  53. By Scharf on Jan 7, 2013 | Reply


    Perhaps the Cardinals passed on him just because Chip Kelly doesn’t fit what the Cardinals are trying to accomplish. Maybe his version of offense doesn’t fit well with the pieces we already have here.

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