Coaching options still aplenty for Cardinals after Payton, Ryans hires

Jan 31, 2023, 4:50 PM
Arizona Cardinals NFL football team owner Michael Bidwill, left, and Monti Ossenfort, right, hold a...

Arizona Cardinals NFL football team owner Michael Bidwill, left, and Monti Ossenfort, right, hold a Cardinals football helmet after Ossenfort was named the new general manager of the Cardinals during a news conference in Tempe, Ariz., Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

As Blink-182 once said, “Where do we go from here?”

The head-coaching dominoes have begun to fall, with Sean Payton and DeMeco Ryans accepting jobs with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, respectively, on Tuesday.

For the Arizona Cardinals, that means seven candidates in their search for a new leader remain up for grabs:

– Vance Joseph
– Aaron Glenn
– Ejiro Evero
– Brian Flores
– Lou Anarumo
– Brian Callahan
– Mike Kafka

As of Tuesday, the Cardinals have three interviews lined up this week with Cincinnati Bengals coordinators Lou Anarumo and Brian Callahan, as well as New York Giants OC Mike Kafka.

The meetings fall in line with the reported reset Arizona is undergoing following its interview with Payton last Thursday.

Beyond those interactions, though, the search past those coaches gets rather murky.

On one side, you would think Arizona GM Monti Ossenfort and owner Michael Bidwill would want to bring in one of the seven candidates they have spoken with or are going to talk to. One coach that comes to mind is Flores. Having learned the Patriots’ Way alongside Ossenfort in New England, the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive assistant shares a similar thinking to what the new GM wants to bring to the Valley.

And outside of a couple of coordinator interviews, Flores has yet to talk with another team over its head-coaching opening.

But given the reset, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that the duo of Ossenfort and Bidwill want to run through additional prospects.

One name that the team hasn’t been linked to but should at least kick the tires on is Philadelphia Eagles OC Shane Steichen.

Steichen had already interviewed once with the Broncos, Texans and Colts and is expected to meet with Indianapolis again ahead of the Super Bowl.

Not only has Steichen moved up the prospective head-coaching ranks since taking over as the Eagles OC in 2021, but he’ll also be in arm’s length reach of Cardinals officials when Philadelphia begins its week of practice at Arizona’s team facility.

With Steichen as coordinator, the Eagles finished third in total offense with 389.1 yards per game and third in scoring with 28.1 points per contest. Philadelphia was especially good on the ground, racking up 147.6 yards per game behind the legs of QB Jalen Hurts and RB Miles Sanders.

I don’t know about you, but already working with a dual-threat QB is certainly a sweetener for a Cardinals team looking to get the most out of Kyler Murray post-knee surgery.

Steichen has certainly moved up the NFL ladder, starting out as a defensive assistant for the San Diego Chargers from 2011-12 before becoming an offensive quality control coach with the Cleveland Browns in 2013.

He returned to the Chargers as their offensive quality control coach from 2014-15 and was promoted to QBs coach in 2016. He held the position until 2019 when he was named interim OC. The team removed the interim tag in what would be Steichen’s last year with the team in 2020.

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