Nolan as potential Cardinals assistant

Posted by Darren Urban on January 19, 2015 – 6:29 pm

This much is becoming clear: Bruce Arians is looking to have the same setup at the top of the Cardinals’ defensive food chain as he does on the offensive side of the ball.

Multiple reports Monday have the Cards looking to talk to Mike Nolan, the one-time 49ers head coach who has spent the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Again, like the possibility of Dick LeBeau, the idea would be that Nolan would be a defensive mentor to whomever Arians names as defensive coordinator — expected to be an in-house promotion — like the Cardinals have with current offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin and Tom Moore, whose title is officially assistant head coach/offense.

I’d guess the first choice would still be LeBeau, who is also receiving interest (not surprisingly) from the Titans and their coach, Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt tried to hire LeBeau as his defensive coordinator a few years ago when Whiz was coaching the Cardinals. Options will have to stay open. I have heard from a few wondering why Arians wouldn’t talk to recently bounced 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. I am not sure, but if the actual DC is not going to be a new hire, maybe that’s why. Fangio does have history with Arians, having coached together with the Colts for a couple of seasons back in 1999 and 2000. (UPDATE: Fangio is headed to the Bears.)

Arians did head out to the Senior Bowl; I’m not sure what the timeline will be to fill all these spots. If reports are true that inside linebackers coach Mike Caldwell is also going to the Jets to be the assistant head coach for Todd Bowles, that’s another spot that has to be filled.

 Mike Nolan

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Posted in Blog | 22 Comments »

22 Responses to “Nolan as potential Cardinals assistant”

  1. By tkm on Jan 19, 2015 | Reply

    this would be a terrible hire,nothing good can out of hiring Nolan,it would be arians worse hire of his life.if you can’t get lebeau then do in house,but keep Nolan away,his track record speaks for itself,just check last 3 years,it would be bad decision.guy has no biz in the nfl,if a high school can use him ,I’m all for it.

  2. By Steve on Jan 19, 2015 | Reply

    Well in all fairness to Nolan, he did not have much to work with in Atlanta the past couple of seasons.

  3. By Andy Kw on Jan 19, 2015 | Reply

    Nick Rapone can be our new Defensive Coordinator, Hire Adrian Wilson as our DB Coach, Mike Nolan can be our new LBs Coach, Dick LeBeau could be our DC Mentor.

  4. By Jeff Armstrong on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Nolan had a very good first year, but between some of his few playmakers leaving and management doing nothing to replace them, Nolan had little to work with after that as Steve said. The GM should have been fired in Atlanta, not the coaches. The GM has missed on nearly every personnel decision the last few years, especially on the defense and offensive line. With a decent Online they could have absorbed some of their injuries and been contenders again in 2013.

  5. By rod (Eddie Golden RD1) on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    We will definitely not hire Dick LeBeau !

    Since I’m always wrong I figured I would throw that out there.

  6. By Eazy E on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    I used to like Nolan but have since soured on him, especially in Atlanta, where he had talent.

  7. By Big Ken on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Gee, the Titans already have a coordinator on defense.

  8. By Phil on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Nolan could be a great hire – forget the last 3 seasons to an extent (poor personnel) his 3-4 base defences have generally been pretty damn good.

    Ultimately, he would be an experienced mentor to a younger DC. I really like what BA is doing in establishing a succession plan internally.

    Todd Bowles was a hire no-one wanted based upon his tenure at Philly….

  9. By clssylssy on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Given that Arians and Vic Fangio have history, I would think he would be a no brainer as DC, certainly better than Nolan who, if hired, I can see as only being a “yes man”. Having him as a consultant seems like something of a waste, since he really hasn’t the resume of a Tom Moore or LeBeau and has done nothing in Atlanta. I did read that LeBeau might not want to move so far from family which is certainly understandable at age seventy-seven, and taking the position with Coach Whisenhunt would make sense and should not be seen as a competition. The fact is that BA and Coach Whisenhunt are friends and both worked with LeBeau in Pittsburg. I am a little troubled that naming a DC doesn’t appear to be a top priority and can only imagine how some of our players are feeling with their future being so up in the air. I know the Senior Bowl is made out to be a big deal for scouts, but, like Canton, feel that it’s over rated and anyone who has been following college ball know by now who the standouts have been; a player’s body of work says a lot more about a player than one game!
    From an organizational development point of view, I can understand wanting to promote from within if the person is the best qualified for the job. (Perhaps two years in is a little soon to expect this kind of growth from the assistants). Of course they will have a better understanding of the core philosophy of the organization, but likely will lack the valuable experience of managing a game, which, in a competitive division like the NFC West could be a season killer. I know BA said he wants to establish his own “Coaching Tree” but I’m a little worried that this kind of agenda could compromise the success of the team. Being in a tough and extremely competitive division doesn’t allow much wiggle room for experimentation and I’m looking forward to getting these big decisions settled sooner than later. I think most fans would sigh a big breath of relief knowing what lies ahead.

  10. By NJAzCardsFan on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    How much damage can Nolan do if he is an assistant…. He might learn something from LeBeau, if he chooses to come here….. BTW the Titans are horrible, they don’t have the personnel that the Cards do… I can’t see LeBeau going there.

  11. By tkm on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    this is true ,i may have been hard on him,but it is what i believe,don’t think he could have did much to help our d this year with all the players out.not trying to downgrade him as a human,just don’t think he’s the man for the job in any part of cards organization,just my opinion.

  12. By Brett In Co. on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Please keep Nolan out of here, I don’t care if he did not have much to work with in Atlanta or not his nfl track record stinks he has had talent to work with in the past and nothing really came of it!

  13. By John The Draft Guy on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Not excited about this news.

  14. By D on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Nolan didn’t have much in talent in Atl but he did in SF a few years back and that defense wasn’t as good as it was under Harbaugh….He would be downgrade from Bowles…

  15. By Hammy on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply


    Being that we should presumably hire an in house candidate for defensive coordinator, do you believe we would run the same scheme with our new coach or would they bring their own scheme to the defense (Staying 3-4 or switching 4-3)?

  16. By Darren Urban on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Hammy —

    RE: Scheme

    I expect a base 3-4 regardless of who comes in.

  17. By clssylssy on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    It doesn’t sound as if the Cards are considering two defensive mentors, it’s either LeBeau OR Nolan. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Does sound like they are wanting to promote from within so I’m thinking that Andy Knows scenario sounds feasible with Nick Rapone a likely candidate, but doubtful they would bring in Adrian Wilson or any former players from the Whisenhunt/Graves era as they weren’t BA’s people.
    As far as the Titan’s being a hot mess, a lot of people thought (still do) the same of the Cards and sometimes it takes a few years to turn that around. Usually it’s the front office and GM that are the source of the problem and there’s nothing much the coaching staff can do about that. They have to make the best with what they are given. I totally don’t understand some fans animosity towards Coach Whisenhunt as he took us places and brought us success like no other coach in Cardinal history.

  18. By Big Ken on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Clancy Pendergast is still floating around.

  19. By tkm on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    could be wrong ,think clancy got a job

  20. By clssylssy on Jan 21, 2015 | Reply

    I read where there was the possibility that the Cards might get a fifth round pick for Andre Roberts which would give the Cards eight picks for the draft?

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  3. Jan 22, 2015: Cardinals Blogs | The mystery of LeBeau’s availability

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