Todd Bowles and a head coaching future

Posted by Darren Urban on December 19, 2013 – 10:04 am

When Bruce Arians announced the hiring of his defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, and his offensive coordinator, Harold Goodwin, neither had spent even a day in the Cardinals’ facility when Arians was saying he wanted them to be head coaches sooner rather than later.

Bowles, with a defense ranked seventh and playing excellent football all season for a team that’s 9-5, rightly has to be noticed as a potential candidate. That was emphasized by a report on, which said that the NFL created a group of former coaches and GMs to help identify some top head coaching and GM candidates heading into the offseason. The list reportedly is only available to teams that have a vacancy — so the Texans would have it now, for instance, because they fired Gary Kubiak — and has an emphasis on minority candidates after 14 consecutive white coaches and general managers were hired last year.

The Cardinals actually interviewed three of the names for the job Arians eventually got — former defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. But also on the list is Bowles, who replaced Horton and has done a nice job with the expectations that came with it.

Bowles has spent a brief amount a time as a head coach, serving as the interim boss for the Miami Dolphins at the end of the 2011 season. When I did a story about him recently, I also had a chance to ask him about Arians’ desire to have him become a head coach, and his own thoughts on the subject.

“I just want to be the best coach I can possibly be,” Bowles said. “Coming in here, regardless if you are replacing someone good or bad, you have to prove yourself. No different than a player. That’s all I was concerned about. I don’t worry about being a head coach. I worry about being a good coach. I know what I am. They know what I am.”


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15 Responses to “Todd Bowles and a head coaching future”

  1. By Eric G on Dec 19, 2013 | Reply

    Sorry Bowles, but I object to you becoming a head coach any time soon. I want you to stay as our defensive coordinator for a very long time.

  2. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 19, 2013 | Reply

    I heard about Bowles as a Parcel guy. He was a bright young coach moving up the ranks.

    But it seemed that it was hype after his stints in Miami and Philly. But as outsiders, not looking at film and not in coaching discussions, we as fans really had no idea.

    When Sean Payton (another Parcels guy) didn’t make a play for him and went with Ryan, it raised an eyebrow.
    But it turns out BA knew something we all didn’t.

    I wanted Ray Horton. I like the idea of three big down lineman eating up blocks and allowing the LBs to flow and make plays ( ie the LT lead Giants, The Ray Lewis lead Ravens and the Steelers ).
    I thought it was time to move on from Dockett and find bigger players on the line.

    Bowles came in with a different approach. He went with a 1 gap approach. If Dockett and Campbell can penetrate, they could cause a disruption and knock blockers off the point of attack, allowing Dansby and Washington to clean up.

    As we are the #1 ranked defense against the run, his plan has worked. The negative vibe following him from Philly is a distant memory. Guys like Dockett, Dansby and Abraham have been reborn under him, while guys like Honey Badger has the ability to play to his strengths and become a star.

    I also like the fact that he has challenged PP. We will live and die with him one on one with the other teams best wr. When PP struggled against Tennessee, Bowles did not panic. In overtime, he put PP back out there one on one. He knows if we are going win, PP has to be up to the challenge. We will take the occasional bump in the road because the end result is worth it.

    Hats off to Bowles for not listening to critics and staying the path. Great job.

  3. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Dec 19, 2013 | Reply

    Bowles’ hire was huge. He is a master mind, understated and modest publicly and another bad ass in private. Yet both he and BA treat people fairly, even if fiercely as needed. Studly staff… through and through..

  4. By 'Zona Fan on Dec 19, 2013 | Reply

    Is there a scenario where the Cards would have to “throw” the game next week against the 49ers, in order to avoid a tie and make the playoffs?

  5. By Darren Urban on Dec 19, 2013 | Reply

    ‘Zona —

    RE: Throw SF game


  6. By Big Ken on Dec 19, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, Don’t coaches Arians and Bowles go way back to coaching together at the same university? Temple?

  7. By Darren Urban on Dec 19, 2013 | Reply

    Big Ken —

    RE: Bowles/BA

    Bowles was starting safety and team captain for Arians’ Temple squad.

  8. By Emo on Dec 19, 2013 | Reply

    He is nowhere near ready to be a Head Coach. This is his first experience with any success at all. People jump on the bandwagon way to early. Let him prove he belongs as a coach in the NFL. He’s lucky he has a job as a DC. He needs to prove it out various years before any talk of HC.

  9. By Pete Dowdle on Dec 19, 2013 | Reply

    I liked Horton, if only because of the job the defense did while he was DC (think of what they could’ve done if last year’s offense helped them out any!). When Bowles came along, and when he was Horton’s replacement, well… because Arians got the head-coaching job at Horton’s expense, I knew Horton wasn’t going to remain with this team…I was okay with the hiring of Bowels, all things considered, but mostly because I wanted to be optimistic and give Arians and company a chance, the benefit of the doubt, etc. And I’m glad I did! Bowles has succeeded where I think Horton kind of failed, and that is by scheming around his players’ strengths. The D-Line was used incorrectly, if only because of the personnel in place, with Horton at the helm. Bowles, however, has engineered an entirely different front for the defense by utilizing the skills and nasty abilities of Dockett, Campbell, and company. With that sort of understanding of personnel at hand, I think he would do well to take on the job of a head coach (somewhere else, please; I do not want to see Arians replaced anytime soon!). It’s that sort of intuitive understanding that lends itself to success where you see it, with coaches who do the same. Hopefully, nobody, especially GM’s elsewhere in the league, agrees with me and offers Bowles a coaching job… ha!

  10. By Chuck 1 on Dec 20, 2013 | Reply

    I love it when the nay sayers who complained when BA hired Bowles now have to try to justify why BA should have kept Horton as D\C or Keim should have hired Horton as HC.

  11. By cardscausechaos on Dec 20, 2013 | Reply


    I love that we are talking about the success of any cardinals coach, player or staff member, but we should not forget that we would not have Abraham, the honey badger and dansby if our fantastic GM did not pull the trigger on those moves. Maybe we should get an interview or article on that guy 😉

    Also with a 1st year head coach, 1st year staff for the most part, 1st year GM and 1st year with how many new faces sporting our beloved red and white we went 9-5 so far its un believable! This has been a really impressive year and I am holding out hope still till the last second ticks off the clock week 17 I know our cardinals are going to be in this race.

    And lastly I know this will be the most insane question you entertain all week… Do you see any scenario although this is seriously hypothetical where the cardinals ship picks to Minnesota in an attempt to bring A.P. to the desert southwest in an attempt to make up for not drafting him when they had the chance… I know the answer already but Steve Keim shocked me with his moves this off season and how well they worked, and according to an article you wrote a while back he was the guy in the room on draft day who wanted Adrian Peterson instead of Levi, and with Carson being older, John Abraham being older, Larry not getting younger anytime soon and contracts as always being an issue shouldn’t this team make a big splash move and try to snag one super bowl while they can?

  12. By Darren Urban on Dec 20, 2013 | Reply

    Cardscause —

    RE: AP/trade

    Don’t know why you’d do that with Ellington on board.

  13. By Scott H on Dec 20, 2013 | Reply

    Ya know, it seemed like Ray Horton was here for about 20 minutes before he was gaining interest and his name was popping up in conversations of head coaching vacancies. Same with Todd Haley. Before that 2008 SB even kicked off, it seemed pretty certain that he was gone. Can we please keep Bowles for awhile??? Geez…

  14. By billdakamackattack on Dec 25, 2013 | Reply

    I hope Todd Bowles stays and runs Arizona’s defense for years. Atleast the next 3-4 seasons. Being this is just his first seasons running a elite defense, I think DC Ray Horton & Lovie Smith would be given head coaching jobs around the league before Bowles. I am pretty confident Bowles will still be here next season. I hope he is. He is a defensive mastermind calling games. Id take Todd Bowles running the defense over Horton running it any day of the week.

  15. By Big Ken on Dec 26, 2013 | Reply

    I think coach Bowles stays at least one more year before he’s ‘poached’ by another team. It’s going to be interesting next year, tougher schedule, the players re-signed and the ones let go. And of course who do we draft? The team is red hot so a desirable place for free agents to come to AZ? I think the team will be in better shape with it’s salary cap, less ‘dead’ money to pay out.

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