18 January 2013

Why Bruce Arians is a great fit as head coach of the Cardinals

Going into the 2012 NFL season, I am not so sure that Bruce Arians would be in position for a head coaching job the following offseason. After all, the Steelers let his contract expire and it was thought that his new team, the Colts, would be in position for a long season. But then Colts coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and Arians became the interim coach of an 1-2 team and he first led the club to an upset victory against the Packers and went 9-3 and until Pagano returned for the season finale. For Arians to lead a team thought to be in transition with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck into the playoffs was damn impressive and thus he will prove to be a great fit as the next coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

For a team that has as bad of a quarterback situation as the Cardinals have, starting four quarterbacks this past season with not looking like the answer, hiring a guy like Arians makes a lot of sense considering his history of working with quarterbacks. Arians was Peyton Manning's first quarterbacks coach in Indianapolis. He called the plays for Ben Roethlisberger's best seasons and don't forget how angry Roethlisberger was when Arians and the team parted ways. And he led Andrew Luck through his tremendous rookie campaign. Whether it be Kevin Kolb or somebody else, Arians is a good fit.

A key will be what he does on the defensive side of the ball with the talented coordinator Ray Horton leaving town. Horton was in the mix for some coaching gigs thanks to his great work these past two seasons with the Arizona defense. When it was clear that the team was going to go in another direction and not give the head job to Horton, he decided to leave and understandably so. It will be important for Arians to keep the positive play continuing as he works on the offense. It looks like his coordinator will be Todd Bowles, who was last seen taking over the Eagles defense after Juan Castillo was fired and the defense promptly fell apart, although he should not shoulder all of the blame there.

The one qualm I have with this hire is Arians's age. He is 60 years old and is already the fourth oldest coach in the league behind Tom Coughlin, Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan. By no means am I saying that Arians is any less qualified than other candidates because of his age but I do think it is something to consider down the road. But all in all, this is a very good hire for new general manager Steve Keim.

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