Updated Feb 8, 2011 - 3:06 pm
Horton likely to be named Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator
It looks like the Arizona Cardinals will have a new defensive coordinator who spent the 2010 season as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers' coaching staff. It just won't be either of the names that were heavily touted for the job over the last month.
According to multiple reports, Steelers' defensive backs coach Ray Horton, not Keith Butler or Dick LeBeau, is expected to be named as the Cardinals' replacement for Bill Davis, who was relieved of his coordinator duties in early January. He has spent the last three seasons working with Pittsburgh's secondary, a position he was promoted to in 2007 after Mike Tomlin was hired as head coach.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt and the Cardinals weren't the only NFL franchise to have interest in hiring Horton as their defensive coordinator. It was reported that the Dallas Cowboys also reached out to the Steelers about interviewing him before eventually deciding to hire Rob Ryan at the position.
Prior to joining the Steelers organization, Horton was a defensive backs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1997-01. His first coaching job came as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Washington Redskins from 1994 to 1996.
Horton also had a ten-year NFL career where he played cornerback for the Bengals and Dallas Cowboys appearing in Super Bowl XXLL and XXVII. He attended the University of Washington where he earned All Pac-10 honors.
NFL defensive player of the year, six-time Pro Bowler and Pittsburgh Steelers' safety Troy Polamalu seems to think Horton would make a great defensive coordinator.
"First of all, he's got the toughest job on this team, coaching the secondary," Polamalu told the Philadelphia Daily News last week. "The reason I say that is, we're always a run-stop defense first. There's always a lot of pressure for the secondary to tackle, but our responsibility is not to get beat deep. That's a lot of pressure for the players and the secondary coach. He's been here a long time and he's handled that. He has an in-depth understanding of the defense coach (Dick) LeBeau teaches, and he has an in-depth understanding of what the offense is doing, personnel groups, percentages."
The potential hire comes as a bit of a surprise as many believed Butler and Miami Dolphins secondary coach Todd Bowles were the likely candidates to land the job.
- Arizona Cardinals linebacker Larry Foote says defense is good enough to overcome Darnell Dockett injury
- Notes from the Nest: Aug. 22, 2014
- Arizona Cardinals' DE Calais Campbell: Dockett injury 'sucks,' others need to step up
- A game-time decision, Jonathan Cooper going through learning experience with Arizona Cardinals
- Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington bulks up in anticipation of harder hits this season
- Peter King, SI.com senior NFL writer - Friday August 22Peter King thinks Carson Palmer could have a big year for the Cardinals.
- Michael Floyd, Cardinals wide receiver - Friday August 22Michael Floyd says he thinks he can be the best wide receiver in the NFL.
- Jared Veldheer, Cardinals tackle - Friday August 22Jared Veldheer talks about his road from a Division II college to the NFL.
- Bob McManaman- Arizona Republic senior sportswriter - Friday August 22Bob McManaman believes that Jay Feely is in danger of getting cut from the Cardinals.
- Andre Ellington- Cardinals running back - Friday August 22Andre Ellington looks forward to a break out year with the Arizona Cardinals.