ARIZONA CARDINALS

ESPN’s John Clayton: It’s ‘Atlanta or bust’ for Arizona Cardinals DC Todd Bowles

Jan 2, 2015, 4:18 PM | Updated: 5:23 pm

Follow @Vincemarotta...

LISTEN: John Clayton, ESPN NFL insider

As of Friday, there are six vacant head coaching jobs in the National Football League.

Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles figures to be a candidate for all of them.

In his second season under head coach Bruce Arians, Bowles overcame a litany of injuries and suspensions to key players to design an effective defensive scheme for the Cardinals, who finished 11-5 and will play their first playoff game since the 2009 season Saturday against the Carolina Panthers.

Of the six openings, ESPN NFL insider John Clayton believes the one in Atlanta, which became available when the Falcons fired Mike Smith after six seasons, makes the most sense.

“That would be the job, I think, that would appeal to him the most,” Clayton said on the Doug and Wolf Show Friday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

“I can’t see him going to Oakland. In New York (Jets), I think it’s more than likely going to be Doug Marrone going there, so I think that door is going to be closed. Then you look over and see what’s going on in Chicago, and I don’t know if he’d be a big advocate of going in there, either having Jay Cutler as his quarterback or trading Jay Cutler and not having a quarterback. I’d say, right now, Atlanta or bust.”

In November, the Cardinals signed Bowles to a contract extension through 2017, which according to Clayton, gives the assistant coach the power to be selective.

“The reason he signed that contract and the reason they gave him that contract is to give him the ability to pick and choose,” Clayton said. “By merit, he deserves a job. I think that if the job isn’t right, he isn’t going to take it.

“But Atlanta would be the right job.”

Earlier this week, reports indicated that Bowles was one of the candidates the Falcons wanted to talk to as they begin their coaching search.

Bowles, 51, interviewed for two head coaching positions after the 2013 season — Cleveland and Minnesota — before removing his name from consideration with the Browns and returning to Arizona.

Bowles’ only head coaching experience was a three-game interim stint with the Miami Dolphins in 2011 after head coach Tony Sparano was fired. He guided the team to a 2-1 finish.

Arizona Cardinals

Fanatics reportedly has filed a lawsuit against Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr....

Arizona Sports

Report: Fanatics files lawsuit against Cardinals rookie Marvin Harrison Jr.

Fanatics reportedly has filed a lawsuit against Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. for breach of contract.

13 hours ago

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and former teammate Larry Fitzgerald will play in BlitzC...

Bailey Leasure

Kyler Murray and Larry Fitzgerald set to compete in chess tournament

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and former teammate Larry Fitzgerald will play in BlitzChamps III chess tournament for charity.

16 hours ago

Rutgers cornerback Max Melton celebrates...

Damon Allred

ESPN: Cornerback Max Melton fits into Cardinals’ defensive identity

The Arizona Cardinals continue to receive praise for drafting CB Max Melton because of how he matches what the defense wants to do.

1 day ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: What will the Arizona Cardinals’ first six weeks of the NFL season say about the team?

Two-time Super Bowl winner Max Starks joined Wolf & Luke to share his thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' first six weeks of the NFL season.

2 days ago

Darius Robinson at rookie minicamp...

Damon Allred

PFF offseason grades: Cardinals earn a B+ with potential for an A

Pro Football Focus released its grades for all 32 teams on Thursday, and the Cardinals got a B+ that can reach an "A" level.

2 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: How good can the Arizona Cardinals be?

Burns & Gambo discuss what they think the ceiling of the Arizona Cardinals is after the schedule was released on Wednesday.

3 days ago

ESPN’s John Clayton: It’s ‘Atlanta or bust’ for Arizona Cardinals DC Todd Bowles