A list of potential Arizona Cardinals coaching candidates
The Arizona Cardinals need a new head coach.
After firing first-year coach Steve Wilks on Monday, the team begins a coaching search for the second consecutive offseason. Team president Michael Bidwill said Monday that the Cardinals will be somewhat secretive about their actions in what he characterized as a competitive process.
As we do our best to piece together reports from around the league combined with contextual clues, we’re keeping track of potential names to watch for as the next coach of the Cardinals.
Here are a list of possible candidates to replace Steve Wilks:
Has interviewed with Cardinals
Adam Gase — Former Dolphins head coach
ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday reported former Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase will interview with the Cardinals on Wednesday.
Gase, 40, was fired Monday by the Dolphins after posting a 23-25 record in three seasons.
The Dolphins gig was Gase’s first as a head coach.
Gase is known as an offensive mind and was the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears before taking the Dolphins job in 2016.
Jim Caldwell — former Lions and Colts head coach
Caldwell interviewed with the Cardinals on Thursday, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
So far, the former Detroit Lions (2014-17) and Indianapolis (2009-2011) head coach has the most NFL experience among those who have interviewed for Arizona’s job.
Caldwell did not hold an NFL job in 2018.
A defensive back by trade, the 63-year-old Caldwell has extensive experience as a quarterbacks coach in college and the NFL. He held quarterback assistant coaching duties with Penn State (1986-1992), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2001), the Colts (2002-08) and the Ravens (2012-13).
The New York Jets announced Monday that they had interviewed Caldwell.
Dan Campbell — Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach
98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro reported Campbell is set to interview with the Cardinals on Saturday.
On Sunday, Schefter reported that the two sides completed the interview Saturday night.
Campbell, 42, has been with the Saints as an assistant coach since 2016. Prior to his time in New Orleans, Campbell worked for the Dolphins from 2010-15, taking over as interim head coach in 2015 following the team’s firing of Joe Philbin. He compiled a 5-7 record as the interim.
Last year, Campbell reportedly interviewed for the offensive coordinator position with the Minnesota Vikings. John DeFilipo ended up getting the job, but was later fired in the season.
In addition to the Cardinals, the Browns and Packers have reportedly also interviewed with Campbell.
Zac Taylor — Rams quarterbacks coach
Multiple reports surfaced on Dec. 31 indicating that the Cardinals were the first team to put in a formal request to interview Los Angeles Rams quarterback coach Zac Taylor. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora added that Arizona “very likely won’t be the last” team to want to interview the former Nebraska QB.
On Monday, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station‘s John Gambadoro reported the Cardinals interviewed Taylor.
Taylor was expected to meet with Arizona on Saturday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Taylor was formerly with the Miami Dolphins from 2012 to 2015. He served as the assistant quarterbacks coach for a year before being promoted to quarterbacks coach. He held that position for a little more than three seasons before taking over interim offensive coordinator duties for the final five games of the 2015 season.
Following his time in Miami, Taylor went to the University of Cincinnati as the quarterbacks coach for the Bearcats in 2016.
He joined the Rams’ coaching staff in 2017 as an assistant wide receivers coach before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2018.
Will interview with Cardinals
Kliff Kingsbury — USC offensive coordinator
The title is somewhat misleading as Kingsbury was the coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders in 2018. Kingsbury was not retained by Texas Tech at the end of the 2018 season but was hired on Dec. 5 to be the offensive coordinator of USC.
USC had reportedly blocked NFL teams from interviewing Kingsbury, but on Monday, multiple reports indicated that Kingsbury would begin interviewing for NFL jobs. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Cardinals were going to interview Kingsbury that same day. Multiple reports stated Kingsbury met with the Jets on Monday.
Kingsbury, 39, has five years of heading coaching experience in college and compiled a 35-40 record with Texas Tech.
Known as an offensive-minded, young, up-and-comer, as a college quarterback Kingsbury finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2002. He played for three seasons in the NFL.
Declined an interview request
Mike McCarthy — Former Packers head coach
McCarthy’s name has been a popular one tossed around in the head coaching rumor mill, and Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said on Dec. 31 that the team had reached out informally to those who were currently without jobs.
But hat doesn’t mean the Cardinals have contacted McCarthy, and reports from some, including NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, indicate he has his eyes on jobs like the Jets and Browns but does not have interest in the Cardinals. That is apparently due to the desire to remain close to his wife’s high-school-aged children, who plan on finishing high school in Green Bay, added ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky.
McCarthy was fired by the Packers after their 20-17 loss to the Cardinals in Week 13. He was the head coach in Green Bay for 13 seasons.
Eric Bieniemy — Chiefs offensive coordinator
Fox Sports and NFL Network’s Peter Schrager reported the day Wilks was fired that the Cardinals were among the teams to put in a request to interview Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Two days after the Cardinals let Wilks go, Bieniemy had decided against interviewing with Arizona. He instead scheduled meetings with the Jets, Bucs, Dolphins and Bengals, reported NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Bieniemy has led a Chiefs offense that ranked first in the NFL this season in points, yards, yards per play and passing touchdowns under head coach Andy Reid. This was Bieniemy’s first season as offensive coordinator after spending five seasons as the team’s running backs coach.