Staff starts coming together

Posted by Darren Urban on January 19, 2013 – 11:10 pm

There have been no official announcements yet from the Cardinals about additions and changes to the coaching staff, but multiple reports from many places have noted that new head coach Bruce Arians — who said Friday he was hoping to have his staff set by Sunday — is starting to do just that.

To the surprise of no one, former Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is the pick for Ray Horton’s replacement as defensive coordinator. Bowles took over in Philly for the fired Juan Castillo last year as the Eagles season went from bad to worse. Bowles played for Arians at Temple and later played for the Redskins and 49ers. Here’s an interesting coincidence too — Bowles was interviewed for the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator job in 2011, the spot that eventually went to Horton. He worked as the assistant head coach and interim head coach while in Miami, but his part-season stint in Philly this season was his first as a coordinator.

For offensive coordinator, Arians will go back to his Colts’ ties to bring in Harold Goodwin, who was the offensive line coach in Indianapolis. Arians already said he will call his own plays. But having Goodwin on staff — along with whomever is the going to be the offensive line coach — will give the Cards extra eyes on a unit that needs to improve. Arians already said he is a big believer in technique on the line. Goodwin’s brother, Jonathan, is an offensive lineman for the 49ers.

(It may be worth noting, after a lot of talk of late that after the head coaching hires around the league did not include a minority, both Cardinals’ coordinators will be African-American.)

The Cardinals do need a lot more spots filled. It looks like Arians will move on from the bulk of the holdover coaches. Special teams coach Kevin Spencer joined former boss Ken Whisenhunt with the Chargers Saturday (Whiz was named offensive coordinator and the Chargers hired Frank Reich, who was just the Cards’ receivers coach, as the quarterbacks coach).  The Cards reportedly only are keeping tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens — Kitchens played quarterback in college for Arians when Arians was the offensive coordinator in 1997 for Alabama — and strength coach John Lott. That would mean moving on from defensive line coach Ron Aiken, linebackers coaches Matt Raich and Ryan Slowik and defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi.

Again, there have been no official announcements yet. Whether the staff is all in place by tomorrow is in question, but as coaches and scouts head to Mobile next week for the Senior Bowl work, it seems that Arians will have a good chunk of his work done (and Mobile is often a place where coaches can interview prospective candidates, too.)


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Dan Williams ready to plug the middle

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2011 – 10:23 am

You know that defense the Cards ran a few times against Carolina last week, the one in which all 11 defenders — including anyone near the line of scrimmage — stand up, with no one with a hand on the ground? Well, nose tackle Dan Williams is ready for a shot to play it … kind of.

“(Defensive line) coach (Ron) Aiken had to explain it to me, ‘Dan, your job description is to play the nose and stop the run,’ ” Williams said, laughing. “You know, I am a backup (for that package). He told me to be ready. I still know that package, so if there is an opportunity, I will be ready.”

OK, so the last thing you expect is for Dumpster Dan, all 6-foot-3 and 327 pounds, to stand up. He’s there to get low and plug the middle. And he did a pretty good job of that in the opener. Williams is a far cry from where he was at the beginning of training camp, when he was not in condition and on the wrong side of the coaches. Williams did work out over the summer — at one point, he joked about not working out, and it came out in a story as a fact — but he acknowledges he would have been better off with no lockout and strength and conditioning coach John Lott guiding him through the summer.

Williams is in shape now.

“I just put it behind me,” Williams said. “I held up my end. It is important what my coaches and teammates think of me. I will give 110 percent and I know I need to be in shape and hit my weight. Comes with the job.”

Williams bemoaned missing a tackle on the sideline at one point against Carolina but “for the most part, as the nose, when they only get 50 or 60 rushing yards, (74, actually) you are a part of it. It felt good.”

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