Host and reporters analysis: Who will be Cardinals next head coach?

Jan 2, 2018, 6:18 PM | Updated: Jan 3, 2018, 9:39 am
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim watches Cardinals players warm up prior to an NFL pres...
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim watches Cardinals players warm up prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. The Raiders defeated the Cardinals 31-10. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Just hours after Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians announced that he would retire, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and president Michael Bidwill went to work on finding a replacement.

Now that a day has passed since the announcement, the list of possible replacements for Bruce Arians continues to grow.

Some of the coaches have previous NFL head coaching experience, and some are young assistants looking for their first shot to land a head coaching gig.

We asked the host and reporters from 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station who they believed to be the best candidate to take over the Arizona Cardinals.

Related: Latest names, updates on Cardinals’ search for new head coach

Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo – Pat Shurmur (Vikings OC)

Pat Shurmur is the name that I’m the most intrigued with.

What he was able to accomplish in Minnesota – turning Case Keenum into a borderline MVP candidate and losing his starting running back early in the year – was impressive.

He’s got previous head coaching experience though that isn’t any kind of a deal breaker for me. But I like the idea that a team that might not be as far off as we think being led by somebody who has done it before.

Overall, I prefer an offensive minded head coach to achieve continuity with your quarterback. I think it’s more likely an offensive head coach can bring in a great defensive coordinator than the other way around.

John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo – John DeFilippo (Eagles QB coach)

So far six candidates have been identified and the one I like the most is Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo who did some magic with Carson Wentz in Philadelphia.

The Cardinals defense is very good and should be set for the next few years. A quality defensive coordinator will be fine under an offensive minded head coach.

The team needs an offensive guru to groom the next quarterback – one who likely will come from the draft and need to be developed.

DeFillippo has OC experience and has drawn interest from other teams as well like Chicago. Seems like it would be a good fit here as offense is where Arizona needs the most help.

Jordan Byrd, producer of Burns & Gambo, host – Pat Shurmur (Vikings OC)

The biggest question mark about the Cardinals roster heading into the offseason is their offense. Finding a new starting quarterback along with developing a rookie signal caller are real possibilities that the new head coach will have to deal with.

Along with that, you have an offensive line that could be in flux and a wide receiver room that has disappointed outside of number eleven. The Cardinals need an offensive minded head coach and Pat Shurmur is the best fit.

He has a background in developing young quarterbacks and having success with those young QB’s. Under his coaching; Donovan McNabb, Sam Bradford, Nick Foles and Case Keenum all have had career type seasons.

He has head coaching experience, been involved in many different types of systems and has the background of a coach who has wisdom of seeing what does and doesn’t work in the NFL.

When you add it all up, he checks off every box the Cardinals are looking for in a new head coach.

Mike Jurecki, co-host of The Blitz with B-Train and Jurecki, reporter – Mike Munchak (Steelers OL coach)

The Cardinals will start interviewing on Wednesday with defensive coordinator James Bettcher to replace Bruce Arians, who decided to retire on Monday after 45 years coaching football.

Bettcher has done an excellent job replacing Todd Bowles. The Cardinals defense finished in the top six overall on defense over the last three years.

It was time for Arians to call it a career after five years with Arizona; he didn’t have the same energy than in previous years.

Michael Bidwill and Steve Keim have requested to interview at least eight coaches and could end up interviewing 12-15 potential candidates.

Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak is intriguing and has a great resume with the wealth of knowledge, especially with the offensive line. He is a Pro Football Hall of Famer who played in the NFL for a long time. He’s a tremendous person, and players love him. Humble, smart, and has great coordinators who will want to be with him.

People in Tennessee rave about him on and off the field, and a lot of times coaches learned a lot from their first head coaching opportunity.

“Munch” would be a great hire and a quality person who has a lot of credibility among the coaching fraternity.

Luke Lapinski, host of The Rundown with Luke Lapinski – John DeFilippo (Eagles QB coach) 

First off, there’s no way the Cardinals can find a replacement with the amount of personality Bruce Arians brought to the sidelines, every press conference he held, every interview he was a part of and every random conversation he had. So we should just probably all accept that right now.

There’s only one BA.

That doesn’t mean they can’t find a good coach to step in and win some football games though. And, to me, there are two ways to go with this.

Matt Patricia is interesting because that would signify the front office playing to the strengths of the roster and going all in on defense. And in a division where the other three teams have their franchise quarterbacks in place already, zigging when everyone else is zagging might be the fastest way to get back into the race.

The more I think about it though, John DeFilippo might be the best answer long term.

Whether they want to try to win with defense or not, the Cards are still going to have to get their quarterback of the future here soon.

And DeFilippo’s track record working with young quarterbacks like Derek Carr and Carson Wentz as the QB coach in Oakland and Philadelphia, respectively, speaks for itself.

Of course, the risk here is that DeFilippo has never actually been an NFL head coach. And if that’s a deal breaker for Arizona, my second choice would be Pat Shurmur, who has proven to be a pretty good offensive mind himself.

He even won nine games over two seasons as the head coach in Cleveland, and picking up nine victories in two years with the Browns is basically the coaching equivalent of running a 4.2 40 at the combine.

Vince Marotta, Co-host of Bickley & Marotta – Pat Shurmur (Vikings OC) 

First and foremost – the fan and talk show host in me is bummed to see Bruce Arians retire. The human being in me is thrilled for him and his family. It’s so rare that we get to see a professional coach leave the game on his terms, so that’s a beautiful thing.

As far as who I’d like to see in Arizona (and I reserve the right to change my mind) moving forward, maybe I’m too influenced by what I’ve witnessed this year, but I’d sign off on Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

He has vast experience as both a coordinator (seven years with the Rams, Eagles and Vikings) and a two-year stint as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns. Yes, he only went 9-23 in those two seasons, but let’s face it, any coach winning that many games in C-town is equivalent to another coach winning 12+ in another city.

And, if you’re interested in a new coach/veteran QB combo, Shurmur might be able to lure free agent Case Keenum to the Valley as a stopgap option for a season or at least while the Cardinals’ quarterback of the future (if they draft one – they should) is soaking things in from the sideline. Most would have scoffed at the Keenum possibility a year ago, but he’s been awesome for the Vikings this year, throwing for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns while leading Minnesota to 13 wins.

Life Changer Loans


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Host and reporters analysis: Who will be Cardinals next head coach?