Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was the new coach on the block last season in the NFC West, taking over a team that went 5-11 in 2012 under Ken Whisenhunt. Arians led the Cardinals to seven wins in the last nine games of 2013, and now he's garnering attention from the national media for his coaching abilities.
Arians was recently ranked as the 13th best coach in the NFL by Elliot Harrison of NFL.com. He still finished below every other coach in the NFC West as Jeff Fisher placed one spot ahead of him at 12th, Pete Carroll ranked seventh and Jim Harbaugh came in third.
I'd like to see one more full year at the helm from Arians before placing him any higher on this pecking order. Arians was named 2012 AP Coach of the Year for his work as the interim head man in Chuck Pagano's stead, which led to his prompt hiring in Arizona last offseason. He continued his brief -- but impressive -- head-coaching run by pushing the Cardinals to 10 wins, including a victory over the soon-to-be-world-champion Seattle Seahawks -- in Seattle.
Now entering his second season in Glendale after winning 10 games in 2013, expectations for Arians are higher. It won't be easy as the Cardinals will need to fill voids at linebacker left by Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington, but if running back Andre Ellington and wide receiver Michael Floyd can improve on their numbers from last season, the team has a lot of potential with Arians leading the way.