You don’t have to look too hard to understand just how good of a coaching job Arizona’s staff did this year.
So, it likely comes as no surprise that both head coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles earned Coach of the Year and Assistant Coach of the Year honors, respectively, by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Arians and his “next man up” mantra helped Arizona match a franchise record with 11 victories, all while using four different quarterbacks during the season. In all, Arizona lost 21 players for a combined 109 games to injury this last season, but managed to reach the playoffs anyway.
It is the second PFWA Coach of the Year award for Arians, who also earned it in 2012 for his work as the interim coach for the Indianapolis Colts. He is the first Cardinals coach to be named the PFWA Coach of the Year since Don Coryell, who did so in 1974.
As for Bowles, the now New York Jets coach guided an injury-riddled unit to a season in which it allowed the fifth-fewest points per game in the NFL. Arizona surrendered the second-fewest first downs per game, and was third in red zone percentage. Of the Cardinals’ 109 games lost to injury, 61 came on the defensive side of the ball.
Bowles is the first Cardinals assistant to win the honor, which has been handed out since 1993.