David Johnson talks coach, contract, Fitz

Posted by Darren Urban on January 18, 2018 – 4:44 pm

David Johnson’s wrist is healed, with his strength and full range of motion having returned, and he’s anxious to play again given that he doesn’t even feel like he played football in 2017. And like everyone else, the running back is paying attention to the Cardinals’ current search for a head coach.

“I’m definitely staying aware but I don’t know what (GM) Steve Keim and (president) Mike Bidwill are thinking,” Johnson said on the PFT PM podcast. “I know they will get a coach that fits the team and is going to be ready to elevate this team and get us to that Super Bowl.”

Johnson touched on a few subjects, including the possibility of a new contract. The 2015 third-round pick has a year left on his rookie deal and now is finally eligible for an extension. The collective bargaining agreement prevents extensions for players on rookie deals until after their third season.

“I hope so,” Johnson said about talks for a new deal. “But I’m really focusing more on getting this injury (healed) and making sure I’m ready to play in 2018, that I am healthy as possible. Especially with so much going on in the offseason with the coaches and the quarterback and stuff, I can’t really focus too much on the contract talk.”

— On the subject of Larry Fitzgerald’s potential return, Johnson was blunt. “Larry is going to come back,” Johnson said. “He’s still playing at a high level.”

Johnson rattled off Fitz’s stats, including another year of more than 100 catches and more than 1,000 yards. “He’s gotta come back,” Johnson added. “He’s got to help us get us to that Super Bowl we’re trying to get.” Along those lines, Johnson had been hoping quarterback Carson Palmer wouldn’t retire and tried to “recruit him to come back.”

— Johnson said he was “hit hard” by the retirement of Bruce Arians, and that he believes he and Adrian Peterson “can really elevate each other’s game” if they play together this season.

— The running back said he has no idea who the quarterback will be, but that he has confidence in both Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton if one of them is the starting signal-caller.

— His injury and season on the sideline left him more grateful to play the game. “Football can end in the blink of an eye,” Johnson said. “So I feel more grateful to where I’ll do as much as I can to stay on that field as long as I can.”

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80 Responses to “David Johnson talks coach, contract, Fitz”

  1. By creditcard on Jan 18, 2018 | Reply

    I sure hope David Johnson is correct — Fitz will return AND He and Adrian Petersen will be our running backs in 2018.

    IF the Cards can figure the quagmire of the O-Line; the Cards offense could change the concept of being a “QB” driven league. The Cards could be a team much like the ‘ground chuck’ days, old Steelers and Giants days, where a team simple grinded out the ‘will’ of another team.

  2. By El Gallo on Jan 18, 2018 | Reply

    DJ is all class. Deserving of a great Offesive Mind to bring out the best in him and showcase his unbelievable skill set.. Add Larry Legend, a quality QB and we got something again. (OL of course)

  3. By Scott H on Jan 18, 2018 | Reply

    Geez,,,,Arians retired….Palmer retired…..Fitz may very well do the same…..David Johnson isn’t even gonna know where he is when he shows up for OTA’a this off-season! Because he’s not gonna recognize anybody!

    But I like his blunt optimism that Fitz will be back for 2018. They’re so cute when they’re young, aren’t they? 🙂

  4. By Dr. G. on Jan 18, 2018 | Reply

    Players like DJ don’t come around often…his performance does all the bragging for him without pounding his chest. My hope for him is that he can still use the unique jump step and run hard like he did before the injury. Subconsciously, your body can encourage you to be very careful after an injury; it’s just normal built in self-preservation. We’ve seen this in recent years with other players. ((no mention))

    It takes serious fortitude to run through those 1200+lb. walls, but if anyone can do this, DJ is our guy. I cannot recall ever seeing a more complete RB for the Cards…and I’ve seen most.

  5. By Dr. G. on Jan 18, 2018 | Reply

    ScottH….as they say – – “”serenity now, serenity now.”” I’m sensing a high degree of concern and worry in your postings. Gotta trust for now, my good man…things are going to be better in 2018 than the last 2 years. You could coach this 2018 team and go 8-8…!

    Our D will probably be better, and with Fitz & DJ coming back, we’ll be fine…don’t need to mention some other good players on O that are already here. We get a couple for the O-Line, a CB, a WR, and a CB and we’re ready for battle.

    No coach can come in and mess up what is here already. We will get a QB in the draft, and more than likely a FA like Smith as the stop gap for a couple years… he’s got a lot left. The $$$ is worth it àt this point ((just not Cousins!)) …be well

  6. By clssylssy on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Extremely unfortunate that DJ lost an entire season w a broken wrist righ before a contract year was approaching but I have no doubt he will get an extension. It would be nice to have a dual threat at the position like they have in NOLA, & even if AP decides to retire or go a different direction, the draft is always full of RBs & we are more secure at that position than any other.
    Our offense, other than DJ, is pretty much a total overhaul, so with all things considered I have to wonder if he might question how his future career might best be served. When looking at Calais & Fitz, who were both on our SB team, the price for Larry’s loyalty to the Cards could become a real reality check for some of our young players who are approaching an important crossroads. When was the last time the Cards had a DPOY,OPOY, ROTY, etc?
    Just as the fans are getting anxious about the HC hire and the future of the franchise, I can imagine how the players feel!

  7. By JTDG on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    OK, how could anyone root for the Browns?

    After a terrible 2017, going 0-16, they decide the way to fix it is to hire Amos Jones…… This is not a joke people.

    This is a team that has gone 4-44 over the past 3 years. At what point should the NFL step in and take over. 4-44 !!

    Now Amos Jones? What , over the past two years, did the Browns see in the cards special teams, that said , hey, let’s hire that Special Teams coach?

    If I am Sam Darnald or Josh Rosen, I am pulling a Eli or Elway and refusing to go there.

    Someone claimed the cards are the laughing stock of the league. No. Let me show you the laughing stock, they are in Cleveland.

  8. By Scott H on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Dr G. –

    RE: Serenity now….

    Good lord, do you realize I was just watching that episode of Seinfeld last night?? Love that show!

    We seem to be on the same wave-length in more ways than one, my friend.

    Yeah, I’m concerned. But what can ya do, ya know? Just too many vacancies and too much un-certainty to have a feel for anything right now. So….I’ll wait.

  9. By jeffcardinalfan on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    ok sk-get it in gear and get dj’s extension signed BEFORE steelers and bell set the price way high!! also, hmmn? think the new coach would like to know his best player(other than larry) is gonna be around and be happy?

    just a thought: most mock drafts have Cleveland taking qb allen at one, rb barkley at 4, and rosen, darnold and Mayfield gone by pic 12-wonder if we could put Adrian Petersen(he will be unhappy sharing snaps with dj) in a package to browns to get pic 4 and maybe not have to give up tons of pics?

    that prob wont happen-if I were Cleveland gm I wouldn’t part with 1 or 4 for anything less than a kings ransom…seriously, if allen and barkley both work out they could “save football in cleveland'”

    the offseason will be an exciting one for cards-lets hope sk has the mantra ol, qb, cb, ol, qb, cb continually running through his head!!

  10. By Big Ken on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Ian Rapoport is claiming if Steve Wilks gets the Cardinals HC gig he would bring John DiFilippo in as his OC. Interesting story…

  11. By clssylssy on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    i saw that the Bears were hiring Amos but hesitate to devalue any team who, while not having recent success, do have a long history with several Championships to their credit including a SB win in ’85 and an extremely loyal fan base.
    I also see they have two draft picks in the first five with, I think a total number more than any other team, so who knows?

  12. By Darren Urban on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Amos

    It is the Browns that are hiring Jones.

  13. By JTDG on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply


    Absolutely agree that the offense (other than DJ ) is in need of a total overhaul.

    At QB, well, we don’t have one.

    At Wr, we hope Fitz gives us another year, then there is JJ Nelson and Chad Williams under contract. They combined for 32 catches and 530 yards. So there is need for a top notch young receiver to come in.

    At TE, well Gresham is under contract (a huge contract), but most likely will miss most of the season with his injury. Niklas is a FA. They have Ricky Seals Jones as that hybrid TE. Not really an inline TE.

    OLine –
    People point at Humphries as a cornerstone but truth is, he has played only 18 out of 48 games and has ended up on the IR the last two years. He has 7-8 games at LT and has been average according to PFF.

    Next to him is Iupati. A great run blocker, who struggles in pass pro. Problem is, he hasn’t played well since 2015. He is due 9.7 million in 2018. Alex Boone came in and did a decent job but is a FA.

    At Center is Shipley. Some defend him while others see him as a liability. He has been serviceable. Nothing more. His very short arms limits the types of blocks he can do and when asked to reach block or pull, well, it was not good.

    At RG was Boehm. Talk about a failure in progress. He was replaced by Watford, who was cut by another team.

    At RT, is Veldheer. A guy who walked out of camp last year when moved to the Right Side. The played poorly as a RT. He is due 10 million in 2018.

    Reserves – Will Holden got some experience at both tackle spots and guard. So did Wetzel. Boehm is a natural center who can play guard. So the depth is not bad.

    So, looking at what we have on offense, we need oline at almost every spot. We need a #2 receiver to help out Fitz or a #1 and #2 if Fitz leaves. We need Two TEs, and of course a QB.

    So, yes, the offense needs an overhaul.

  14. By JTDG on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply



    Are you blending the two together? The Bears have a superbowl win in 85. The Browns , not so much.

    Devalue a team? The Browns did that themselves. They are 4-44 over the last 3 years. Think about that.

    Better yet, they are 38 and 121 since 2008. 38 wins since 2008. This franchise is by far the worst. They clearly have either the best fans or the dumbest. Think about sitting in freezing cold watching them go 38-121. uhgg.

  15. By clssylssy on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    LOL…you are so right, my mistake!!! Getting the Bears mixed up w the Browns, no excuses. Yes, Bears are the ones w the ring, Browns with all the picks!
    Thanks for drawing that to my attention!

  16. By Dr. G. on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    ScottH …What a coincidence on the TV show…eerie! You’re one of the most prolific posters for some time now…appreciate the passion for the greatest game.

    Really, I don’t think we’re that far off. A new regime can/will bring in some enthusiasm that seemed to wane last year. We have leaders now on O & D that can really play the game…Fitz ((will be here)), CJones ((nuf said)) , DJ ((by example)), and a set of skill players like Seals, Budda, Peterson, Badger ((when healthy)), MGolden & BGolden ((off IR)), Logan, AD, & Reddick are some of the core. And for Nkemdiche, we saw some good flashes…sez he finally has his ship together ((my nickname for him ~ “”hoping havoc””))

    …getting some 👎s when suggesting a vet QB as a stop gap. It’s only reasonable unless they think Gabbert or Stanton fills that need…new deal would be needed. Gabbert may get a deal as #2. Stanton is gone, I’m guessing.

    All this talk about having a QB in house already is a calling card? I’m thinking many coaches would like to participate in the process of choosing their guys.

    This time of year with what’s coming down… easy for us to have eager anticipation. I’m looking at it like, “”gotta a pretty good ride that needs a few new tires and an ignition key (QBs)””…does not have to be that hard to get on the track!!! …just don’t give me some bald tires and expect good traction. …be well

    A reasonable reminder…In the NFL, there are NO REBUIDING YEARS!

  17. By Dr. G. on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    ScottH ~ ~ forgot one thing…the play calling can only improve…a huge upgrade in just about any case…later

  18. By patrick on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Todd Haley should be at least OC if not HC. He will get the most out of Fitz and was the one that was pushing Wiz to play Warner over Leinart.

  19. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Wolf had interesting comments about Falcons Special teams coach and what he brings to the table. He’s a real candidate it seems. Wonder who his OC would be?

  20. By jeffcardinalfan on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    whoops!! sorry…meant to post this instead of earlier post:

    lets not give dj extension so that he can leave after this season…why would new hc want dj anyway?
    lets plan on ap getting 50% of carries and being a locker room cancer
    lets NOT try to draft a qb this year

    will be boring offseason

    lets hope sk drafts only safeties and outside lb’s as our ol and corners are fine…really we don’t even need a qb…we can use wildcat with ap every play.

  21. By D on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    No rebuilding years, that is funny, AZ roster has more holes in it than swiss cheese. The new coach will have a lot of work to do.

    The poor drafts from the last few years is really showing on this current roster especially in the WR, OL, TE and CB depth areas. Not to mention the failure to find a future QB since J. Plummer. (google him new fans). I am surprised that there hasn’t been a shake up in the scouting department.

  22. By Scott H on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Dr. G. –

    Don’t sell yourself short there, my friend. You’ve been quite prolific, yourself.

    Yeah, the Seinfeld / serenity now thing did seem a little funny! But ya can’t go wrong with Seinfeld.

    Only the most popular sitcom of all time and I’ll probably get thumbs down’s for saying I love it. Or anything else, for that matter.

  23. By mitchaz on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    I know this may be unpopular, but I think it would be wise if the Cardinals waited another year to talk about a new contract, for the following reasons:

    1. DJ has gitten knocked out of the last 2 games he’s played with a knee injury and a broken wrist.
    2. His upright running style leaves him unprotected—particularly his legs. For a bell cow RB who wants to get 20+ carries a game, that’s a concern.
    3. The Cardinals can put the franchise tag on Johnson and work a contract out next year or have him ;play a year on the tag.

    In addition, it is highly questionable to think that RB Adrian Peterson, at his age, injury history (recent neck injury) and (again) an alarmingly upright running style is worth $3.5M guaranteed next year.

    It might be best in terms of career longevity to make David Johnson more of a WR, where they can still get him some carries on WR speed sweeps and reverses each game. Thus, let him develop into the #1 WR we are currently lacking (other than Fitz) and draft a more traditional, lower-the-shoulder RB, like Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, Justin Jackson or Nick Chubb.

  24. By Scott H on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Somewhat related, but is anyone else feeling like Fitz has kinda boxed himself in with his comments that he’ll go as long as he feels he can play at a high level? I mean….clearly, he CAN, and we’ve all seen that. So….following that claim, how can he possibly retire right now, trying to convince anyone he doesn’t think he can do it at a high level anymore??

    Based on THAT….I’d say there is no way he can’t come back for 2018. Not after ANOTHER 100-catch / 1000-yard season.

  25. By D on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply


    I believe the Oline should be one of the top 2 priorities this offseason.
    (behind the obvious QB empty chair )

    I would released Iupati and Veldheer.

    A couple of Oline arrangements for AZ based on free agency and the draft.

    LT LG Center RG RT
    Humphries A. Norwell Boehm Boone O. Brown (rookie-1st Rd pick)
    Wetzel Shipley Holden

    I doubt SK will want to pay the high price tag of free agent Norwell after he spends $ on a free agent QB. Might have to resign Boone.

    LT LG Center RG RT
    Humphries Q. Nelson Boehm J. Kline W. Holden
    (1st round pick) Shipley (TN free agent) Wetzel

    Kind of shaky at OT, probably have to sign a veteran if Holden/Wetzel/Humphries are the top 3 tackles on the line.

  26. By clssylssy on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Kent Somers made some interesting comments regarding the status of the HC job for the Cards, pointing out that it was viewed by our FO & many of our fans much better than it was seen by the rest of the league & especially the younger candidates who were seeing a massive rebuilding job ahead with even more question marks. Older candidates such as Armstrong & Wilks might be more willing to take the job as a bridge to retirement & would be essentially holding a place!
    So, is anyone really surprised ? Perhaps Mr. Bidwill needs to hire a professional recruiting team as well as a management consultant firm if he is serious about turning this team around.
    I have the sinking feeling that we are going to end up at square one (with Bettcher), an “interim HC” as fans are waiting for them to find the “right guy”.

  27. By Dynosoar on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Scott H,

    since you mention the thumbs down you’ll get from time to time. Perhaps people give you a thumbs down as a homage to your posts and not in disagreement.

    That means you would be the only one on this site who has 100% thumbs up. Now that’s some Brotherly Love my friend from Philly.

  28. By Chris G. on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Amos Jones to The Browns! Wow am I glad I don’t live in Cleveland.

  29. By JTDG on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply


    I agree I would not give the extension to DJ at this point. Don’t get me wrong, he is a great back. He will be needed if they go with a rookie QB.

    But I just do not believe in giving out extensions to a player who has been out all year with an injury. I also don’t know (like the Steelers) if a back is worth 10+ million a year.

    In 2017, who were the top backs? Mostly rookies. Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamera, Leonard Fournette, Davin Cook (till injured).

    In 2016, top backs rookies Eziekel Elliott and Jordan Howard , along with 2nd year back David Johnson.

    Sure there are guys like Lev Bell and Shaddy McCoy, and the rebound of Todd Gurley, but you can find great backs in every draft, and many in later rounds.

    Let’s see what our QB situation is, and after FA, then take a look at the cap for 2019, get DJ on the field to make sure we see the same DJ, and then talk extension if it makes sense.

  30. By JTDG on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    The Jaguars are playing the Pats this weekend. How did the lowly Jags get to this point?

    It started with the Hiring of Tom Coughlin. Once Tom was in, look at the moves the Jags made.

    In 2016, in Free Agency they signed Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gibson
    In the 2016 draft, the took Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and Yannick Ngakoue

    In 2017, in Free Agency they signed Calais Campbell, Barry Church, and AJ Bouye
    In 2017 Draft, Leonard Fournette, Cam Robinson and DeDe Westbrook

    That, ladies and Gentlemen is how you turn a team around. That is All or Nothing

  31. By Big Ken on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Wait a minute. Amos Jones is hired by Cleveland Browns? I thought JTDG was being sarcastic out of fan frustrations.

  32. By georgiebird on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    Rooney Rule is probably the biggest joke in all of Football. The Raiders interviewed two minority candidates while at the same time, the Raiders were frothing at the mouth to sign John Gruden. Who’s kidding who????

  33. By Dr. G. on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    if there were such a thing in sports as diety, many Cards Fans would categorize Fitz as such. I do not see him in that light, but he is certainly a stud wideout.

    Unless he has some incredibly unknown prospect in mind, I would be stumped if he does not return while he can still ball. Anything else will be a step down for him when he finally retires from the field…except maybe Astronaut!

    Fitz will be back for can he not?

  34. By Dr. G. on Jan 19, 2018 | Reply

    jtdg ~ Mitch ~ ~ The business side of things here mistifies occasionally, like we mentioned prior giving the Badger a monumental deal while on crutches.

    Johnson is everything that is good for an ideal player, but you’ll have agreement to pause until the appropriate time to lock him down. Honor most of the current deal, and then make a sensible move.

    One thing that can be optimistic is ~ he has 2 good wheels…just an wrist issued that has been healed.

  35. By faster on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    @jtdg, coughlin improved the management of the jags, but don`t forget marrone.

  36. By jeffcardinalfan on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    wow…guess im a little confused…I got 4 thumbs down for my first post ad no thumbs up. I don’t care at all about thumbs up or down but was amazed that no one thought the ol, qb and corner needed upgrading or that cards should consider trading up in draft to pic a qb. just for fun I then posted the EXACT opposite opinion and got thumbs down and no thumbs up? as I live in Missouri and get none of the local az tv I rely heavily on this website for cards info and enjoy seeing other peoples opinions.

    sooooo its my opinion that;

    cards must get 3 qbs for roster and should have 6 or 7 in camp. you only get players 4 ways; trade, free agent, draft, and undrafted free agent rookie. I think cards should explore all 4.

    if dj isn’t extended before bell price will go up as dj will want close to whatever bell gets from steelers. if dj had injured a knee I would feel differently.

    anyone who doesn’t think the ol needs overhauled is beyond my comprehension as is anyone who doesn’t think cards need to upgrade corner position.

    again my opinion is that ap will be a distraction if he’s not the bellcow. he was clearly unhappy in new Orleans splitting carries. of course if you could get ap and dj on the field at same time that would put stress on opposing defenses: do they load up the box to stop ap leaving dj with single coverage and who would cover dj? no lb can cover him, few safeties can and he would just run over a corner. similarly, the patriots put stress on opposing defenses with the quick possession wideouts, gronk-the match up nightmare and the deep threat of Hogan and cook. of course having brady makes it all work.

    I couls see gabbert being successful in this scenario-a lot of rpo’s with ap and dj. gabbert ran lots of rpo’s at mizzou. if larry comes back, the cards would only need to acquire a consistent deep threat(someone who will catch the ball consistently.) with ap and dj both on the field teams would be forced to either play zone in which fitz and dj would be very productive or try to cover dj and fitz with single coverage-I like our chances in either against either defense.

    of course none of this matters at all if ol isn’t upgraded.

    the cardsdwas 6th ranked unit even without a dominant inside dl and with only one strong pass rusher and with weak corner play except pp and with average play from hb. with m goldens return and the addition of better #2 corner cards d could be dominant.

    9ers will sign jimmy g, I find it hard to believe that chiefs would let smith go, brees would have to be moneywhipped to not resign with saints, Bradford is hurt all the time, I cat see the colts moving luck and bridgewateris risky. keenum has been an average back up at best until this year…so who is out there that will be available that is better than Stanton/gabber? in order to get one of the top qbs in draft cards will have to trade up. Rudolph might be there in second but cards cant take him at 15. if smith is available cards should go get him. they should also sign either gabber ot Stanton and unless they are in love with one of the top qb’s they should draft qb in 2nd or 3rd round as well as bring in several undrafted free agent qbs. I like the linehan kid from Idaho(I think).

    you give some people the ingrediewnts to make a chocolate cake and they mix them up and get a cake…others just make a mess. time will tell what the cards end up with.

  37. By mitchaz on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    Yesterday, BA spoke at length with Burns and Gambo. Did you hear the interview?

    First of all, BA sounds great. He’s been catching up on his sleep, which, as those of us who are retired or semi-retired know, is a panacea. BA said that he’s been interviewing for TV jobs as a studio analyst or color commentator—that he would relish a shot at MNF and the chance to work with Sean McDonough, brother of the Cardinals VP of Player Personnel, Terry McDonough. While BA concedes that ESPN isn’t likely to pick him right away to replace Jon Gruden, it is very likely that BA will wind up in the studio or in the booth with ESPN, Fox, NFLN or NBC.

    As for his outlooks on the Cardinals’ HC search, BA has been heavily promoting James Bettcher and Keith Armstrong. BA avows that Bettcher has the “complete trust of the organization,” that “he has a great presence in the locker room,” and that he’s very “bright” and very “ready.”

    BA lauds Armstrong, his one-time assistant at Temple, for being able to command the respect of an entire football team, as ST coordinators are challenged to do, seeing as STCs have to work with the entire roster. BA alluded to Armstrong’s passion as once evidenced on Hard Knocks and feels that Armstrong is ready to be a great head coach.

    Here’s a thought, however. Or maybe it’s more of a question. Why did BA choose to recommend two candidates and not be adamant about one? It feels as if this is a concession that OK if you don’t think Bettcher is ready to make the leap, then why not go with Armstrong and you can keep Bettcher as the DC.

    Dan Bickley made an interesting comment yesterday in challenging BA’s assertion that the players love Bettcher and that he commands their total respect. Bickley said that this was true of Todd Bowles—he could see it in the way the players gravitated to him and how they looked up to him. Bickley said he has never really seen that kind of reverence from the players toward Bettcher.

    OK–so if Bettcher is not ready to be the HC, then BA wants Armstrong as HC and Bettcher to remain as DC…and he thinks Drew Stanton would be the “perfect mentor” for a rookie QB. Now, that likely means that BA thinks Stanton should be the bridge starter while the coaches are grooming the QBOF.

    At the Arizona Sports radio station they conducted a poll yesterday asking the fans whether or not the new Cardinals HC should be tied in some way to BA. At the time when the interview with BA was aired, the poll results were that 88% said no and that 12% said yes. They wondered whether BA’s interview would change some people’s minds.

    i can only speak for myself obviously, but it did not change my mind. BA said that one of his main reasons for wanting Bettcher or Armstrong is that he really wants to spend time at Cardinals’ training camp and have a chance “to hang out with Michael and Steve.” Rightfully so, BA remarked that with a new HC who doesn’t know him, he wouldn’t want him to have to “look over his shoulder.”

    BA very much wants MB&SK to see in Bettcher what he sees in Bettcher—and in that way, it would vindicate him for making such a surprising choice three years ago when BA decided that Bettcher, despite only 3 years of NFL coaching experience, would be the best candidate to succeed Todd Bowles.

    As for Armstrong, what’s so hard to figure out is if BA was so close to him and speaks so highly of him, why in the world didn’t he find a way to add Armstrong to his staff? Well, clearly BA had a greater allegiance to Amos Jones (who was just hired by the Browns—amazing, isn’t it?). It just feels so odd that after the repeated STs debacles and shortcomings we have witnessed over the past three years that BA has a pet candidate as his successor who happens to be a top-shelf ST’s coach. The irony of this “hits with the force of a cartoon anvil” (to quote J.K. Rowling).

    BA went on to reiterate that going into the 2016 season as one of the favorites to contend for the Lombardi Trophy that the whole season hinged on the opening night loss to the Patriots and that the team “lost its swag” after that game and while the team “fought back” it never could recover it—and that then “the injuries set in.”

    When asked whether he would have changed anything about his pre-season approach to the 2016 season in retrospect, BA said no, that he felt he had a veteran team and that he just wanted to make sure everyone was healthy going into the season.

    As for the QB situation, BA started out by lamenting how he and Steve Keim narrowly missed out on taking Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson when the Chiefs and Texans traded right up in front of them. Then, BA raved about the 2018 QB draft class saying that “Baker’s (Mayfield) enthusiasm is sincere and would be well received in an NFL locker room” and that Mason Rudolph excelled over BA’s Hokies in the bowl game by “dropping deep TD passes on us.” He went on to say that, while he has not studied any tapes of the QB prospects yet, that this year’s crop “has 8 QBs who have the stature and arm strength” to be great pros. He said, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    Meanwhile, yesterday, the Cardinals’ 2nd interview with Keith Armstrong started in the morning and carried into the afternoon, Then, Steve Wilks arrived for his 2nd interview which included a full FO gathering for dinner at Steak 44. Usually when pretty much the entire brass is attending the dinner (including Adrian Wilson), that’s a signal that a deal is on its way. Thus, it would appear right now that Steve Wilks is the heavy favorite in the clubhouse while the Cardinals are waiting to meet next week with John DeFilippo and Brian Flores.

    Some are hoping for a Steve Wilks hire with John DeFilippo as OC. The Titans, who have interest in Wilks, are also interested in meeting with DeFilippo. One has to wonder then, what Steve Wilks’ plan B on offense is, if DeFilippo is hired elsewhere as a HC or an OC (where he potentially will garner a frenzied interest from a number of teams).

    DeFilippo remains the only offensive coach and QB guru the Cardinals have on their short list.

  38. By Scott H on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    Dynosaur –

    Well, there’s an angle I never considered…..thanks but I’m pretty sure I know where they come from!

    I’m hoping the Vikings show the Eagles NO brotherly love at all tomorrow. I hope love ain’t gonna have anything to do with it!

  39. By clssylssy on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    Dr. G…
    Wish I was as confident about Fitz returning as you seem to be. You act like he doesn’t have other alternatives for future career options!
    I would think anyone with a fire still burning to play, would be following the playoffs for, if nothing else, personal education. According to reports, Fitz hasn’t
    watched any football since the season ended and he walked off the field in Seattle, even though his hometown Vikings look close to getting to the SB! To me that kinda looks like a guy who has closed a chapter and is moving on.
    Also, and this may mean nothing, but I recently had to get a new VISA card, and they are no longer issuing the Larry Fitzgerald Cardinal card, although he is still their spokesman.
    Just saying, we may need to consider that there is a real possibility that we weren’t wanting to face the reality that the reason he decided to come back this year was b/c he saw hope for still making it back to the SB w a team & playbook he knew & was comfortable in.

  40. By Scott H on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    georgiebird –

    I kinda agree with you about the Rooney rule. In theory – for what it is intended to accomplish – I have no problem with it. BUT when teams – like the Raiders in this case – know full well who they are going to be hiring and any interviews they offer to minority “candidates” are a total sham…..yeah, then it DOES become a joke. At that point, it is nothing but a charade.

    It really doesn’t make me feel any better to know that minority candidates are getting interviews just for show – so teams can show that they did the “right” thing.

    It’s a rule there really is no way to prosecute. I mean, unless a team just totally fails to “interview” a minority candidate….they’re good, right? Everybody’s happy? But the real intentions of a team are something that can never be proven, so….yeah, unfortunately, I think it DOES become a joke.

  41. By dynosoar on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    Scott H,

    I have two thumbs down for my perspective, err, two thumbs up. Haha!

    My daughter’s a Vikings fan and man it was awesome to see a nine year old girl erupt in excited leaping at what she immediately exclaimed as “It’s a miracle! It’s a miracle!” over and over.

    I know what it’s like to have a team that has been there and is an also ran. I’m thrilled for her and I’d love to see the Eagles go packing as they did in the same game in the 2008 season. All those years as part of the NFC East I never really cared one way or the other regarding the Eagles (The other three I couldn’t stand, and still have a hard time with, old wounds and all), but the Eagles, eh.

    And if they were going agaisnt some other team I may or may not care, but the Vikings were a team I liked as a kid (they were tied at eleventh with the Chargers, the Cardinals taking up the top ten spots.) And my daughter was just so excited.

    Go Vikings!

    As to the other game I don’t care who wins just as long as the Patriots lose.

  42. By Chris G. on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    I read on AZ that both Bettcher and Armstrong are represented by BA’s son Jake. Maybe that has something to do with the endorsements.

  43. By Dr. G. on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    Clssy ~ Re: Fitz? In order to understand someone, it has always been my practice to imagine what it is like to “”walk a mile in his moccasins.”” ((Old Indian proverb)) I have made the case for him already…my sombrero is ready for dining if am in error. If I am him, I’m playing. You just need to let me do it on my clock.

    ScottH ~ ~ Partial intent of the Rooney Rule aside from embracing diversity is to illuminate any surprises that could come with an interview…a book cannot always be read by its cover. ((Perhaps a diamond among the stones))…be well

  44. By Dr. G. on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    As the Seinfeld story lines are mentioned, I’m reminded when George wasn’t sure if he was fired, he came back to work anyway and ignored that possibility, then had to crawl through the a/c vent to get to an office.

    If Arians tries to show up and be recognized in camp or otherwise, I’m thinking with pro writing skills, I’ll just show up in the communications dept. and assume that I have a position as well and get the Lebowitz file…!!! ((An addition for Darren’s sarcasm warning!))

  45. By georgiebird on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    @Scott H
    Glad we agree. Here’s another point on the hire rule. The Cards will be one of the last teams (again) to pick a HC. The questionable actions of the Raiders will influence Michael Bidwill to a large degree. The Raiders’ actions will sort of paint MW into a corner. So expect the Cards to hire Steve Wilks as their new HC. I have looked at Wilks’ bio and there is very little to like. The best thing about the Wilks hire is that Wilks runs a 4-3 defense in Carolina. Hopefully he will bring the 4-3 to the Desert-because anybody who knows Cards’ history is aware that having four very good linebackers at one time is very improbable. Having four very good LBs since 1960 is a debatable point.

  46. By creditcard on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    Totally agree with JTDG about Tom Coughlin. I mentioned it a couple years ago when Coughlin left the Giants — to get him, and put him in any capacity in the organization.

    Coughlin knows how to smell out talent.

    The Cards need a Coughlin type — especially for the O-line. The O-line is a mess. Two parts to the O-line problems: Bad drafting, and poor coaching techniques. Add those together for Kiem’s tenure, and you have what we’ve seen.

    The Cards need to draft a HC, that has connections. connections in special teams, O-line, QB development etc…

  47. By Dr. G. on Jan 20, 2018 | Reply

    Clssy ~ ~ Re: Fitz – no other opportunities?? How did you possibly glean that from my post?

    To make it clear, I can repeat this for you: where is he going to go in 2018 that he will be as big a STAR as he is in the NFL? Sure, he will have many opportunities post NFL, but some neglect to remember that he has a few things to accomplish record-wise. If I’m him, I’m adding to the numbers as well as enjoying the notoriety. You OK with that?

  48. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    Dynosaur –

    Wow, you’re 9-year old daughter is a Vikings fan?? Man, how did that happen? Are you from there?? Doesn’t even matter, that is really cool. Not that I needed one, but your daughter and her happiness are now another reason why I will root for the Vikings today!

    My 21-year old daughter is an Eagles fan ( grrrrr ). I did nothing to prevent that, I didn’t want to brainwash my kids the way so many of my friends did. I let her find her own way. She is crazy about the Eagles and football in general. Took her to her first Eagles home game this year ( yes, to witness that 34-7 beat down of the Cardinals ) and she was out of her mind.

    So for her, today is just beyond anything she ever knew. She just started to catch on when the Cards hosted the Eagles for the NFC title game back in 2008, so she wasn’t really there yet. But, good lord, she is now!

    So, after today, I’ll either be happy for my daughter or yours! Either way, I win!

    Enjoy the games.

  49. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    clssy –

    RE: Intent of Rooney rule

    Yes, I get that. BUT how often do you think that is REALLY coming into play and resulting in teams discovering a candidate they weren’t really considering? I mean….I think we can safely assume that the Raiders were VERY intent on hiring Jon Gruden. Is there much doubt there? OK. So, was anyone else going to come along and change the course of that? I think probably not.

    And, no, we shouldn’t base everything on what the Raiders did this time around. But I think the general point is valid – that when teams have their mind made up about the guy they want, that is the guy they are going to end up with. I really don’t believe the Rooney rule – despite the well intentioned intent – is going to change that. Hence, the opinion of myself and at least some others that it ends up being a charade in many cases.

  50. By mitchaz on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    Cardinals’ HC Candidates’ Coaching Trees
    Steve Wilks

    Notre Dame 2004—Ty Willingham
    Washington Huskies 2005—Ty Willingham
    Chicago Bears 2006-2008—Lovie Smith
    San Diego Chargers 2009-2011—Norv Turner
    Carolina Panthers 2012-present—Ron Rivera (Super Bowl Runner-up 2015)

    Years of NFL Coaching Experience: 12

    Regular Season NFL Team Records: 117-74-1
    John DeFliippo

    New York Giants 2005-2006—Tom Coughlin
    Oakland Raiders 2007-2008—Lane Kiffin
    New York Jets 2009—Rex Ryan
    San Jose University 2010-2011—Mike MacIntyre
    Oakland Raiders 2012-2014—Dennis Allen, Tony Sparano* (interim, 2014)
    Cleveland Browns 2015—Mike Perrine
    Philadelphia Eagles 2016-present—Doug Pederson

    QBs: Eli Manning, Josh McCown, JaMarcus Russell, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin, Derek Carr, Matt Shaub, Chase Daniel, Carson Wentz, Nick Foles

    Years of NFL Coaching Experience: 11

    Regular Season NFL Team Records: 69-105
    Brian Flores

    New England Patriots 2004-present—Bill Belichick

    Years of NFL Coaching Experience: 12

    Regular Season NFL Team records: 175-47 (Super Bowl Champions: 2004, 2014, 2016)
    Keith Armstrong

    Notre Dame 1993—Lou Holtz
    Atlanta Falcons 1994-1996—June Jones
    Chicago Bears 1997-2000—Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron
    Miami Dolphins 2001-2007—Dave Wannstedt, Nick Saban
    Atlanta Falcons 2008-present—Mike Smith, Dan Quinn (Super Bowl Runner-up 2016)

    Years of NFL Coaching Experience: 24

    Regular Season NFL Team Records: 183-201

    * Impressive that Armstrong was retained by 3 teams through 3 coaching changes.
    James Bettcher

    Indianapolis Colts 2012—Chuck Pagano, Bruce Arians*
    Arizona Cardinals 2013-present—Bruce Arians

    Years of NFL Coaching Experience: 6

    Regular Season NFL Team Records: 60-35-1

  51. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    JTDG / creditcard –

    RE: Coughlin

    I share your high opinion of Coughlin. It is now well-known he didn’t really want to step down with the Giants, but they basically forced him out with the charade ( another charade! ) that his reitrement was mutually agreed to. That was a crock. He didn’t want to leave. And I knew as he was giving his farewell press conference with the Giants that they were making a huge mistake.

    Coughlin is tough and he is a disciplinarian. And when do those traits ever REALLY fail in the NFL when they come from a head coach who KNOWS what he is doing?? Almost never.

    In my humble opinion, the Giants believed there was going to be too much of a clash between Coughlin and their jack-ass WR Beckam JR. They chose the jack-ass. And it didn’t take long for them to be on the losing end of that. Good luck, Giants.

    When the Jaguars benched Fournette for a game earlier this year, I grinned and said to myself that is ALL Coughlin! And it will turn out right for them because Coughlin has a great feel for that kind of thing. He doesn’t care what the name is on the back of your jersey or how much money you make – if you slack off and don’t follow the rules, you are held accountable. Period.

    And that is as it SHOULD be. Coughlin gets that AND he isn’t afraid to put it in play. And the Jaguars are benefitting from that right now.

    I’m VERY happy for Coughlin. He is a good guy and he deserved better than a forced retirement from a team that had its head up its you-know-what.

  52. By clssylssy on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    Re: Rooney rule
    You have me confused with Georgie bird. I’ve not commented on the subject.

  53. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    georgiebird –

    RE Glad we agree

    Me, too. Because no one else ever does ( with me )! 🙂

  54. By Steve on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    Darren: With the Patriots going to the SB, do the Cards have to wait 2+ weeks to interview Brian Flores again? I guess Bidwill being a former federal prosecutor is going to drag this coaching search out and leave no stone unturned.

  55. By Darren Urban on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Coaching interviews

  56. By Joe C. on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    I think the goodness of the Rooney Rule, even in the Raiders case, is it puts a spotlight on a couple miniorty candidates and who knows, maybe it gets them another interview or maybe they shine and its gets their named mentioned at owners meetings.

  57. By D on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    3 reasons AZ the last team to hire a HC.

    No QB. Even the Browns Have Kizer to develop may not work out in the long run but at least they have him on the roster.

    Tough division.

    Per the experts, Mr. B and Keim prefer to keep most of the D staff.

    I don’t believe Flores, Armstrong and Wilkes would want a 3-4 def.

    I am guessing Bettcher will get HC and bring in C. Pagano as DC and M. McCoy as OC. I hear McCoy would bring in Osweiler as the bridge QB.

    Could be a rough stretch for AZ. To stay competitive add to the defense since it will take a few years for the offense, similar to the 85 Bears, great D and W. Payton or for AZ, D. Johnson.

  58. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    clssy –

    Yes, I just caught that eror of mine. Too late, of course. Very sorry about that.

  59. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    Well, so glad the Vikings really brought it today. My God….to play the way they did all year, just to play like THIS in the NFC title game??? It’s kinda like watching the 2015 Cardinals in Carolina. Ugh.

    Gotta give Foles – and more so, Doug Peterson – lots of credit. Looks like an Eagles – Patriots SB.

  60. By georgiebird on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    Tom Coughlin a great man and a good coach. He will go into the HOF thanks to two miraculous catches. He was never an elite NFL coach but rather a hard worker and very fortunate.

  61. By georgiebird on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    Michael Bidwill will pick a minority BECAUSE he has to. All the teams with QBs have picked their HC. MB will be the fall guy here. There is no minority candidate capable of filling the Cards job which is probably the toughest job of all going forward.
    Not against minority coaches and I would take Tomlin if the Steelers decide to let him go.

  62. By dynosoar on Jan 21, 2018 | Reply

    Scott H.

    When I was 8 my dad showed me and my brother the Sears Catalog page with all the NFL Helmets. I chose the Cardinals and haven’t looked back since. (I loved watching Tarkenton with the Vikings and they also have a cool helmet, and I loved watching Foutz and John Jefferson, so the Chargers were up there.)

    I did the same for my children. I showed them all the helmets and got a Bengals fan, a Packers fan and a Vikings/Ravens fan. They love their teams like I love mine.

    I bet your daughter’s beside herself with that win today.

    I’ll be rooting for the Eagles to win and the Patriots to lose.

  63. By Scott H on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    dinosaur –

    I loved hearing all of that! I think letting the kids make their own choice is the way to go. I watch some of my friends brainwash their kids, forcing THEIR teams on them, and ending up with “fans” that are totally manufactured by their dads. To me, that is just….wrong. Anyway….

    The Cards helmet was also a factor in my choosing them as my team and it was also at the age of 8. Maybe that is just the time in our lives when we make that choice!

    I was a big baseball fan as a kid, it was my first love. Football came a little later. But the first organized baseball team I played for was the Cardinals. And I loved being a Cardinal. It was cool to be a Cardinal. BUT I was a rabid Phillies fan ( the only Philly team I ever loved ) and I would never pick another baseball team. When I started to pay some attention to football, I felt no attraction to the Eagles at all. So, like yourself, I looked around at the other teams and when I noticed a FOOTBALL team called the Cardinals, with the cool red bird on the helmet, that was it. They were mine! And they have been ever since.

    FWIW, I was a huge fan of the Sears catalog as a kid. Heck, you needed that to make your Christmas list!

  64. By clssylssy on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    This game reminded me very much of our appearance in the Conference game against the Panthers. Wonder how many football fans said the same thing about us as you did the Vikings, lol!
    I guess Nick Foles came through today, wonder how many still don’t think he’s worthy? Somehow, I think if we had made it to the Superbowl with Stanton, that wouldn’t have mattered for a second!

  65. By Joe C. on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    I don’t want to be Capt Obvious, but Foles would be a great experiment at QB. He’s had a couple good years, he has AZ ties. He definitely is a fifth wheel with Wentz. Wasn’t their QB coach on our shortlist?

  66. By dobie on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    Batcher would not make a good head coach I don’t thing he makes a good defensive coach

  67. By PH on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    NFL says Wilks is the guy…

  68. By D on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    S. Wilkes?
    Switching to 4-3 D???

    Panthers UFA
    G. Gano K (Cards could use)
    Star Lotulelei DT (Panthers won’t let him leave probably will be franchised)
    A. Norwell G. (Cards could use)

  69. By Steve on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    Hearing it’s Steve Wilks thats going to get the job according to Kent Somers.

  70. By JTDG on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    What I learned this weekend in the NFL (some I already knew)

    – You can have superstar CBs, knock Gronk out of a game, have pro-bowlers on your DLine, and the number 1 pass defense, But if you are within a couple of scores in the 4th quarter, Brady will beat you. Brady only threw 2 TDs, Both in the 4th quarter to win.

    – If you give Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, and John Defilippo time to work with a QB, they can make them great. Three straight games Foles is over 100 in his QB rating and 350 yards vs the best defense in the league. Floes seems to have his magic in Philly. BTW, reality check, if he wins the superbowl, he comes into camp behind Carson Wentz. Tough.

    -Blake Borles can win, he just isn’t a Franchise QB. He can win a Superbowl like Joe Flacco or Trent Dilfer, but he can not throw a team on his back and carry them. But he also isn’t the bad QB he is made out to be. He needs his top receiver back from injury and they will be back.

    – Case Keenum is not a Franchise QB. He is pretty good, but not worth big money. The Vikings have tough decisions ahead, but if they pay 18-20 million a year for any of their QBs, they made a mistake.

    – The cards have a way to go to match up with these teams. The Eagles are young, under contract, and will have Wentz back next year. The Vikings defense will rebound and be tough again next year and they will have Dalvin Cook back. The Rams, Falcons and Saints will get better. Our division will be tougher with the much improved Niners, Rams and the Seahawks. A huge offseason is needed or look at tough times ahead.

  71. By Scott H on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    We have a new head coach. I’ll wait for that blog.

  72. By Joe C. on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    JTDG -I’ll throw this to you. How many QB’s out there would you change your personnel to fit their style vice incorporating that QB into your system. i.e. If you got a Peyton manning or Drew Brees you design your team around them. Alec Smith not so much. Outside of five or six QB’s out there I think you make the QB fit your system. Brees, Brady, Wilson, Rodgers, Ryan (?). If you don’t get one of them there is no point in trading multiple draft picks or killing your cap.

  73. By faster on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    looks like wilks is it,

    and because nobody named the oc and dc, i asume defilippo as oc.
    will be interesting, the monday after the bowl.

    dc, holcomb, bettcher, buckner or?

    nick foles? a swap with stanton and some picks, and he`s cheap in 18 to test.
    i think, fitz will play next year ……

  74. By D on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    This hire is a Head scratcher to me. I realize he interviews well and is a Def Coach by trade, mostly a secondary coaching history, (reason why PP loves it so much) but this team doesn’t need more holes/players to be drafted/signed in free agency on the Defense side of the ball. I know, we’ll hear the 3/4 4/3 hybrid talk but AZ doesn’t have a L. Kuechly at MLB. C. Jones was a top 3 Def player in 2017, he did it by technique and speed, losing weight to enhance his get off and speed. Now, he will be asked to gain back that weight to play a DE role. M. Golden is the player really left out in the cold. He isn’t big enough to play DE and doesn’t have the cover ability as a OLB. A pass rush specialists like K. Ealy?

    DL- Mauro, Peters, Nkemdiche, Pierre, Jones, Gunter.
    Say Mauro, Gunter and Golden as backups.

    I don’t like it, Golden needs to be on the field as much as possible he is a difference maker, and AZ will need to add to the DL now if they go with 4/3. (appears he will bring his LB coach from the Panthers as DC )

    We all know the multiple holes on the Offense side of the ball, now besides CB, the defense will need more players to be added.

    Appears Keim added more chaos to a team in which had a top 10 Defense in 2017.

  75. By El Gallo on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    Wilks is in. It’s Official!

    Wonder if he’ll change the defense to a 4-3 and who he’ll bring on as his OC and QB coach..

    Still hoping for JDF in some capacity

  76. By JTDG on Jan 22, 2018 | Reply

    Joe C,

    I think a good coach always evolves his offense of defense to the players he has.

    That includes QB. Let me give you an example. The Broncos had Kyle Orton. When they decided to go with Tebow, they changed the offense to fit him and went to the playoffs and knocked off the Steelers. Smart.

    If I had Teddy Bridgewater, Im not treating him like Carson Palmer and I am not treating Palmer like Russell Wilson. You adapt.

    Whiz changed for Warner and it worked out pretty good.

    So, if you landed a rookie QB and say it was Lamar Jackson, you would run a lot of RPOs and boots, ect to highlight his talent.

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