Teachers plentiful for Cardinals

Posted by Darren Urban on November 4, 2014 – 10:52 am

Ken Whisenhunt’s final coaching staff with the Cardinals numbered 17 members. With Bruce Arians, the number has ballooned to 24. It’s gone up just since Arians arrived, when he showed up in Tempe preaching how he wanted to teach and how he wanted his staff to be teachers as well. Arians’ theory is simple, and perhaps a given since Arians once thought he was going to get into middle school teaching and coaching: Smaller class sizes work. That goes in the NFL too, so why wouldn’t the offensive line benefit with three coaches (Harold Goodwin, Larry Zeirlein and David Diaz-Infante) instead of one. Why wouldn’t the defensive line need two coaches (Brentson Buckner, Tom Pratt), or there be a separate coach for inside (Mike Caldwell) and outside (James Bettcher) linebackers?

The Cardinals and president Michael Bidwill had to give the OK, of course, but Arians’ called it a “very easy sell.”

“Guys who have big position groups need more teachers,” Arians said. “I wish our school systems would take that approach.”

(I know my wife, who teaches high school down the street, agrees, as do many of her colleagues. But that’s something for another day, and probably another blog.)

“Michael has been great about it,” Arians added. “Rather than having one (coach) make this much money, give me three and let them make this much money. I’m not going to spend any more money, just give me more guys and we don’t care who’s sitting on whose desk in the office space.”

It has made for much more crowded football side of the team’s Tempe facility, but it’s worked. It’s not the only place things have changed with the organization. The personnel department has also grown in size, as has scouting. Heck, the building itself is growing, with new construction ongoing to enlarge the weight room, the cafeteria, the training/medical area and eventually, the locker room.

It’s hard to think anything other than that focused teaching has helped the Cardinals for the past year-and-a-half, that it’s helped a team overcome the kind of personnel losses this team has suffered, and keep playing at a high level.



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26 Responses to “Teachers plentiful for Cardinals”

  1. By Dynosoar on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    I love that we have more coaches and quality coaches as well.

    I once was pondering quantity time vs. quality time with my children (all young and I was working two jobs and in schools). The impression was clear, quantity time can always be/become quality time, but quality time cannot become quantity time.

    More coaches can always become quality coaching, but quality coaching cannot become more coaching. True teaching always is done in smaller groups. We take what we learn in the large group and distill it internally in small groups.

    BA is spot on.

  2. By kauaicardsfan on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Love this article !!!

    As a Martial arts instructor for 37 years ( just as long as I have been a cards fan) I can attest to having more teachers/Instructors to help out, One teacher cannot do it alone not to mention spending all your time honing one persons skills. That’s where the failure comes in, not enough instructors (Teachers) to help out the rest of the students refine their skills as well.

    Hence, no drop off in skill level when the ” next man up” steps in! They have been prepared ready to go when their number is called !!!

    Great job Mr B for listening and getting B.A. what he needs to be successful !!!

    I see with this staff and coaching in place the Cards will be a dominate franchise for years to come!!!!

    GO CARDS!!!

  3. By blaxabbath on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Darren (and other comment posters)-

    Speaking of teaching (thanks for the lead in!), I’m taking my girlfriend to her first ever NFL game this Sunday at UP. I’ve always been pretty focused on ‘just the game’ when I’ve attended games but I’m sure she’d like to get a little more broad experience. Any input on stadium features or game day events to which I should try to expose her (beyond on the typical tailgating on the Great Lawn etc)?


  4. By Dynosoar on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    I have been pondering close games vs. blowouts and I have a different perspective that gives me both peace of mind and confidence.

    BA trusts his team to score the last points and win. Either with the last scoring drive or stopping our opponent from scoring on their last drive.

    How many time has our team gone out and confidently executed the last score to win? This makes me wonder if its not by design. We are flying under the radar (even with the best record in the NFL) and part of that is because we haven’t blown anyone away.

    Perhaps BA wants to keep a lot of plays off of tape and use them when needed. He’s testing what he has to work with (think thr Raiders and a mostly run game, or the Cowboys when we went from 3-4 to 4-3, at least I think that’s what we did.) He’s testing different aspects of our team, probing us as well as our opponents.

    Part 1 of 2, Continued…

  5. By Dynosoar on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Part 2 of 2, continuation…

    I’m a fencing coach and the fencer who wins, talent and skill level being equal, is the one that figures the other one out and then beats them by first knowing ones own strengths and weaknesses and then defining the others strengths and weaknesses and then formulating a plan of action to beat the other at their own game.

    AND BA is not giving too much tape for opponents in regular season OR for the playoffs to determine how to beat us. And if we do make the Super Bowl (and I believe we do) then our opponents will have two weeks to prepare. Why give them more tape to do that with. He’s learning our team and our team is learning themselves and we don’t need a blowout to do that. Nor do we need gaudy numbers of yards. We just need at least one more point than the other team at the end of 60 minutes of play (barring OT).

    As a fencing coach, if I could get my players to see things the way BA and I do, this next seasons youth league could prove as successful as our beloved Cardinals.

    8-1 here we come.

  6. By Dynosoar on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Kevin S. Mesa,

    You felt we’d be this good at the beginning of this season. I’m sure of it.

    I felt we could be this good and with hard work from our Huge coaching staff, our front office and our players and the support of Michael Bidwill and the unwavering support from this blog group under Darren’s watchful eye and articles…

    We Are This Good.

    It takes vision and dedication to be successful.

    It takes beginning with the end in mind and as BA stated in our offseason, home field advantage in February’s only game is the vision. The entire organization has provided the dedication.

    And we get to enjoy it with each other.

  7. By Dynosoar on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    I have developed a few mini visions of my own. The sweep against the NFC East was the first. A sweep against the NFC West is my second. Home field advantage and the Lombardi for the Cardinals is my third.

    Then I trust BA to fulfill my fourth, a replacement for Todd Bowles that can do just as much with our defense as he has.

    Will this happen? I believe all these are both possible and probable (even without the pass rush we all want. Ayers has two sacks in two games, while we didn’t get him, our coaches understand our strengths and weaknesses and our opponents and with that knowledge we can win every game.) Will this happen? I hope and trust it will.

    Trust – Loyalty – Respect

    (I see someones already thumbed me, thanks for avoiding my eye. Haha! I want to hear your thoughts, so please add something to the post.)

  8. By superbowlcards on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Little off subject (but football related, Cardinals goal related)
    Finally some national media attention, respect, or whatever you prefer to call it. But so called “expert” from ESPN predicts Arizona -vs- Denver playing in the Superbowl this season, he uses some funky formula to predict. Of note, with a month remaining last season, this Guy, and his system predicted, you guessed it, Seattle and Denver for last years SB!!
    I realize this means nothing, although he uses formula’s, so it is encouraging he has what he calls authentic games, and our Cardinals are top of the list at 4-1, hey, at least it is nice to get some national exposure, right?

  9. By clssylssy on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    I love this philosophy and believe this to be the secret of our success, as much as, having gifted young men of quality to fill our roster.
    I have to hand it to Michael Bidwill for being open to BA;s ideas and being supportive in expanding the coaching/teaching staff. In today’s business world this is rare and forward thinking in a time when downsizing and outsourcing seem to be guiding principals. Good job!

  10. By BirdsSTC on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Dynosoar –

    That made me dizzy.

  11. By perry matherne on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    There’s that ol saying,there’s strength in numbers & arizona’s record speaks for itself!Coach bruce & his staff is doing such an excellent job,I have been a cardinals fan since the age of 8 & now i’m 54 & boy does it feel good knowing that going in the right direction & the caliber of players that arizona now pocesses.Can’t wait till we win confrence!

  12. By D on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Totally agree. Teaching and communication are the keys. If this staff can be successful with Palmer for two more years for more time to learn and coach for Logan Thomas, then we are talking great things for the future of this franchise.

    Michael is a wise business man, more you invest into the team, the more he get’s back at the ticket gates, advertising, sponsorships, etc…many teams are kicking themselves for not hiring BA and his staff.

    Mr. Keim needs one more good offseason with extending players, working the cap, slashing salaries, signing free agents and hitting on players in the draft to make this into a 3-5 yr run.

  13. By Richard S on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    The system I use is only 66.42% accurate year to date, but based on today’s number ranking, which will of course change every week as the season goes on, giving 3 points to the home team and looking at the Cardinals schedule the rest of the season, the system predicts a close win over KC, a home win over the Seahawks, and an away loss to the Seahawks and Niner’s. These are the only two losses the system foresees, which means the Seahawks loss to the Cards in Arizona gives them 4 losses, the Cardinals end up with a final record of 13–3 to win the NFC West. The Cards should hand Detroit their 3rd loss and New England should hand them their 4th loss at New England. The only team in the conference with a better record than 3 losses is Philadelphia. Looking at Philadelphia’s schedule, along with today’s current point ranking, it looks like they beat Seattle at home and then lose to Green Bay at Green Bay for their 3rd loss. This leaves Philadelphia at 13-3 for the season, tied with the Cards for home field advantage, but the Cards beat the Eagles, so they get home field advantage throughout the playoffs and with that 3 point advantage, beat every NFC team ranked above them in the point standings, bringing on the Super Bowl. Of course the points change every week and it’s only 66.42% accurate. In that Super Bowl, I have New England favored by 1.13 points. Hopefully that game will be among the 33.58% wrong.

  14. By Dynosoar on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Tucson Tim and JTDG,

    I apologize if my thoughts and questions last article were harsh sounding. I didn’t intend for them to be and you and JTDG are correct, we do lack in the sacking department.

    I just see us being effective without sacks. We are 7-1. We have a luxury most teams can’t afford, we have if not the best one of the best secondaries in the NFL and can leave our CBs on an island and let the QB try to throw it as he has pressure. There are more than one way to beat QBs, sacks are one of them, leaving them no good options for passing is another good one.

    There’s so many moving parts in this machine we call the Cardinals and BA has said he wants perfection and we probably do need a pass rush to get perfection.

    We are still 7-1 and the team is taking this one game at a time, not looking at how good there record is (as I am) and not looking forward to the Super Bowl (as I am). They are staying grounded, even if they feel destiny is there for them. They also are beginning to say (which means they’ve thought) they can beat any team any day anywhere. And they can.

    We can match up with anyone with a healthy Palmer or a healthy Stanton and with a few more years, probably a healthy Thomas as well.

    We have so many weapons on our offense and our defense I really don’t see anyone beating us down the stretch, unless we fall apart and I just don’t see that happening. (Possible, but not probable. Fingers crossed. Hehe.)

  15. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Read above posible Denver v AZ in SB. Think Denver can get by Pats? 😉

  16. By Dynosoar on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply


    Dizzy, that’s how our opponents have been feeling (and how we felt in Denver.)

    But did it make sense? We are not blowing away opponents even though we could. BA is keeping us in check and when we need a score, we go get one or two, but he’s keeping the reigns on so we don’t give our opponents too much.

    Kind of like the swordmaster who teaches his best student everything he knows except two things, so if the student ever tries to beat him, the Master still wins. Always keep a few plays to oneself so the opponent is caught off guard.

    Peyton Manning is so successful because he’s seen it all and remembers it all. So don’t show him (or others) everything we’ve got. Unleash it in the playoffs and Super Bowl when it will ensure victory and the Lombardi.

    I hope it made sense. If not, you can thank me for a good nap later as that clears the mind.

  17. By clssylssy on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    @ Patrick Hoag aka Dont’ Take Losses
    Did you watch the Patriots game against Denver? WOW! I’m probably in a minority on this site but WOW…it was a thing of beauty. I love seeing a well played, beautiful game and I couldn’t help think at the time that the Patriots sure can pull it together and make something out of very little whereas Elway went out and bought the best players to surround the best QB and still came up short! I had to wonder if the Cards could beat Tom Brady and his crew and honestly, I think we could…IF we have the passion and the hunger (which I think we do), we can clean up our offense and have HFA (our guys don’t do good in the snow or freezing wind). We beat them in Foxboro with less of a team than we have now and Arians vs Bilichick would be the Clash of the Titans for real…something to think about, if we continue to take care of business one week at a time.
    We’ve played the Broncos and stayed with them pretty good in their house with the walking wounded and we now know more…so, in a lot of ways they would be less of a mystery.
    I don’t want to jinx us by getting ahead but there are some pretty good teams still picking up steam and playing Pittsburg again in our house might be pretty cool too…a full circle kinda of thing:)

  18. By krehbieo14 on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    The Caedinals have smaller class sizes. A very simple concept. We should only adopt that idea in AZ Public Schools rather than underfunding our kids future.

  19. By Sir60 on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Good post, Darren. I’ve always believed that it’s not the player or players that bring success to a team, but the coaches and more specifically the head coach. Every team is loaded with players that have great atheletic ability. It’s the team with the teaching and leadership qualities to get all those individuals to know their job and function as one that wins it all. Bill Belichek is a perfect example, never getting a high first rd. pick but makes due with what he gets and FA signings.

  20. By Scott H on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Teach on, brother!

  21. By Scott H on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    clssylssy –

    WOW….I hadn’t even thought of that ( of course, I’m trying not to jinx anything BY thinking about it ). But the Steelers coming to UoP Stadium for a SB rematch with the Cardinals…..holy cow! IF it were to happen, I would hope the entire 2008 team would be on hand for it. Because, for me, THEY were the team that raised my expectations to where they have been since that day in Feb 2009. I’ve never left that game, honestly. How cool would it be to finish the journey in Feb 2015?

  22. By Kevin S Mesa on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    Patrick Hoog:

    Re: Denver vs. NE

    I think it depends on who has home field advantage. Brady’s home record is pretty astounding. And as of now, NE has the advantage because they have the same number of losses and NE won head-to-head. But the Patriots’ schedule is tougher (e.g., at Indy, at GB, at SD). I think whoever has home field advantage throughout the playoffs will win the AFC.

  23. By italycardfan on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    I do not know if the system adopted by BA is the right system or not. Not everything that is winning can be applied in all circumstances, in each team. But if the system built by BA is having success with the Cards, means that this is the right system, not others. I am convinced that it is important to the way you work, what method or what discipline you use, but in the end, what really matters (and this, I think, in every area of ​​our lives) are the final results you get with the right job with the right effort of all. We’re walking fast and this is a point of pride for every fan. A point in favor of the work of the boys. A point in favor of the theory of BA.
    GO CARDS !!!

  24. By NJAzCardsFan on Nov 4, 2014 | Reply

    For the Cards to go to the Super Bowl… They must develope some sort of pass rush.
    This will take some pressure off of the LB’s and DB’s with the better QB’s they are going to face in the playoff’s……

    On the Offensive side… The offense has to cut down on the (stupid) penalties and the WR/TE’s have to CATCH the ball….. Those two issues have held the Cards back from scoring alot more points, killed off drives etc……

    The Rams game is going to be a tough one……

  25. By Red Dead Redemption on Nov 5, 2014 | Reply

    This is just an amazing coaching staff, you cannot have too many great teachers.
    All this does is cement the reality for me personally, regarding how much I after a point, I hated the Russ Grimm and the ” “Obviously we’re disappointed” years.

  26. By ryan on Nov 5, 2014 | Reply

    dyno- i highly doubt BA is holding back. If they could’ve blown out each team they have played then they would have. Even if you are right and that is what BA is doing then it is a recipe for disaster.

    CARDS 34 -rams 7
    wreck the rams!!!!!

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