Gannon hints at what Cardinals want in offensive, defensive coordinators

Feb 16, 2023, 11:15 AM
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

The next step for the Arizona Cardinals after they hired head coach Jonathan Gannon on Tuesday is to find his coordinators.

Gannon said during his introductory press conference on Thursday that he is undecided whether he will call the defense after spending the past two seasons as DC for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Offensively, he said Arizona will interview candidates within 48 hours of his introduction.

The new head coach was set to meet with team staffers after his press conference to offer clarity on their futures, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson.

Gannon explained that the makeup of the staff will determine whether he calls plays and referred to Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni’s adaptability. Sirianni called the offense in 2021 before stepping aside from that role, and Shane Steichen called the NFL’s No. 3 scoring offense in 2022 with the head coach’s input.

“I’ve got a really good blueprint in Philly of how that went with the head coach and how he adapted to make the team better, so I’ll figure that out as we come,” Gannon said.

Gannon was clear on what he wants on the other side of the ball: a system focused on quarterback Kyler Murray’s strengths.

“I have a very specific vision of how I want to play on offense, and the person that comes in here to run the offense will understand that everything we do will be structured around the quarterback position to maximize his skill set,” Gannon said and pointed to Murray in the audience. “And we have an elite one. We also have elite players at different positions already on the roster that I’m very excited to work with.”

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said Gannon’s vision for getting Murray back to being “the playmaker he is” was a major selling point.

Murray signed a six-year contract extension last offseason but suffered a torn ACL in Week 14 which threatens his start to the 2023 campaign.

Gannon said his ability to both throw and run is difficult to prepare for, calling him a “problem.” He told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke Thursday that while Arizona’s defense won’t look exactly like Philadelphia’s — which was run by mobile QB Jalen Hurts — it will have elements he learned there.

Hurts led all quarterbacks in rushing yards and touchdowns in 2022.

Gannon noted that his idea on offense is to live out of 11-, 12- and 13-personnel with more tight ends on the field and one running back.

As an overall philosophy, Gannon said he wants an offense that generates explosive plays, protects the ball and thrives in situational football.

“If you do those things, you’ll be in the playoffs,” Gannon said.

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