A list of who is on Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon’s staff
Mar 2, 2023, 9:57 AM | Updated: 9:58 am
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
The Arizona Cardinals’ new era under head coach Jonathan Gannon is taking shape.
Following the hirings of offensive coordinator Drew Petzing and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis, as well as the retention of special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, Gannon and the Cardinals filled out of the rest of the coaching staff on Wednesday with 15 additional hires in addition to the retention of seven assistants from the previous staff.
A closer look at Gannon’s coaching staff:
Offensive coordinator — Drew Petzing
The 35-year-old new play-caller of the Cardinals’ offense takes the reigns as an offensive coordinator for the first time.
His experience as an NFL coach dates back to 2014, when he began as an offensive assistant on a Minnesota Vikings staff that included Gannon.
Petzing was also an assistant wide receivers coach, assistant quarterbacks coach and wide receivers coach in Minnesota before becoming the Cleveland Browns’ tight ends coach from 2020-21 and then transitioning into the role of quarterbacks coach last season.
Defensive coordinator — Nick Rallis
Rallis, 29, is another link from Minnesota for Gannon.
The youngest coordinator in the NFL was the defensive quality control coach for the Vikings from 2018-19 before bumping up to assistant linebackers coach as well the following season. He moved to Philadelphia with Gannon in 2021 as linebackers coach working under Gannon’s DC title with the Eagles for two seasons.
Rallis immediately moved into coaching after his collegiate playing career ended in 2016 with the University of Minnesota.
Offensive line coach — Klayton Adams
Adams, 40, is set to take over as Arizona’s offensive line coach.
He has more coaching experience than either coordinator that dates back to 2007 as an offensive line coach for Western Washington but his NFL experience began in 2019, spending two years as the assistant offensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts. He then moved into a role for the Colts as tight ends coach the previous two seasons before joining the Cardinals.
Adams in the collegiate ranks had six years in Colorado and was a co-offensive coordinator in his last year.
Special teams coordinator — Jeff Rodgers
Rodgers also held the title of assistant head coach under Kliff Kingsbury for the last four seasons in Arizona.
The 44-year-old has been with the Cardinals since 2018, taking the responsibility of special teams for then-head coach Steve Wilks.
Rodgers is the most experienced coach of the announced names thus far, with his time in the NFL going back 19 seasons across five franchises.
Tight ends — Ben Steele
The 44-year-old Steele will oversee tight ends.
Steele spent 2022 with the Denver Broncos as an assistant offensive line coach. He was hired to Nathaniel Hackett’s staff before the head coach was fired mid-year and replaced in the offseason by Sean Payton.
Prior to that stint, Steele was assistant offensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings (2021) and coached tight ends for the Atlanta Falcons (2020).
Steele also coached tight ends for Tampa Bay (2017-18) and spent three years with the Buccaneers (2014-16) as an offensive quality control coach. He held various on- and off-field roles at Mesa State, Colorado, California and UC Davis before joining the Bucs.
Linebackers — Sam Siefkes
The Cardinals have hired Vikings assistant linebackers coach Sam Siefkes as Arizona’s linebackers coach.
Siefkes, 31, served as Minnesota’s assistant LBs coach this past season after getting his NFL start with the Vikings as a defensive quality control coach in 2021.
Before his time in the league, Siefkes was Wofford College’s defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach from 2018-2020.
He was also the DC at UW-Platteville from 2016-17.
Defensive assistant — Patrick Toney
Toney left the Florida Gators, where he was co-defensive coordinator, to join Arizona as the team’s defensive backs coach.
Toney immediately joined Southeastern Louisiana as a defensive assistant in 2012. He coached special teams and defensive backs there.
Toney, who is now 32 years old, made a pitstop at Sam Houston State (2015) as a secondary coach, then joined UTSA (2016-17) coaching safeties.
In 2018, Toney latched on to head coach Billy Napier’s staff at Louisiana. He coached safeties for two years before he was elevated to defensive coordinator for 2020-21.
Toney remained under Napier in a move to Florida for this past season.
Cornerbacks — Ryan Smith
Smith, who was a cornerbacks coach under Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern in 2022, will hold the same title with Arizona.
He spent last year at Northwestern and prior to that was a defensive pass game coordinator and cornerbacks coach for Virginia Tech.
Smith has spent time at Elon, James Madison and Penn State, plus a year as a grad assistant at UTSA. He played football at and graduated from William & Mary in 2014.
Passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach — Drew Terrell
The Cardinals have the 31-year-old Terrell away from his post as the Washington Commanders wide receivers coach.
Terrell is an Arizona native who attended Hamilton High School before playing as a receiver and punt returner at Stanford.
Terrell played four seasons at Stanford from 2009-12 and was the team’s leading wide receiver in 2012. He, current Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz and quarterback Andrew Luck helped lead the Cardinal to a 12-2 record and Rose Bowl victory.
He got into coaching as a graduate assistant with Virginia Tech (2014), then jumped to Michigan in the same role from 2015-17.
Terrell made the leap to the pros as an offensive quality control coach for the Carolina Panthers (2018-19) and became assistant wide receivers coach for the Commanders in 2020. In his first two years with the team, wideout Terry McLaurin posted consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, becoming the first person to do so in team history since Henry Ellard in 1994-96.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Terrell had interviewed for Arizona’s open offensive coordinator job, but the Cardinals ended up hiring Petzing for that position.
Quarterbacks — Israel Woolfork
Woolfork joins Arizona after assisting with the Browns QBs alongside Petzing last season.
Woolfork was a part of Cleveland’s Bill Willis Coaching Fellowship in 2022 after starting out with the Browns as part of the NFL’s Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship the year prior where he worked with tight ends.
The QBs coach got his coaching start as a graduate assistant at Miami University (2013-14) before coaching running backs (2015-17) and wide receivers (2018-21) for the RedHawks.
Outside linebackers — Robert Rodriguez
The Cardinals have added former Arizona State Sun Devil defensive line coach Rodriguez as the team’s outside linebackers coach.
Rodriguez coached for the past three years at ASU and was hired by former head coach Herm Edwards in 2020. He was not retained under first-year coach Kenny Dillingham.
Prior to that, Rodriguez spent 2015-19 with the Minnesota Vikings, where he crossed over with new Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon. The former assistant defensive backs coach was with Minnesota from 2014-17.
Defensive line — Derrick LeBlanc
The Cardinals have hired former Miami Dolphins assistant defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc to be Arizona’s new DL coach.
LeBlanc just got done with his 22nd year of coaching, with the previous 21 seasons all coming at the collegiate level — mostly of which has been on the D-line.
He was Arkansas’ defensive line coach in 2020, where he helped defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall become the only Razorback to get drafted in 2021.
Prior to that, LeBlanc was Kentucky’s DL coach from 2017-19. DTs Quinton Bohanna and Phil Hoskins were both drafted in 2021 as well.
Assistant offensive line — Chris Cook
Cook, 41, joins Arizona as the team’s assistant OL coach after spending 2022 as an offensive analyst at Duke.
He also worked with the Broncos as their offensive quality control coach in 2021. He also had coaching stops at Akron (2019-20), UT-Chattanooga (2017-18) and East Carolina University (2016).
Additionally, Cook was a participant in the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, working with the Atlanta Falcons (2018-19) and Cleveland Browns (2020).
Running backs coach — Autry Denson
Denson, 46, takes over as Arizona’s RBs coach after spending the last four seasons (2019-22) as the head coach at Charleston Southern University.
Before his time at CSU, Denson coached running backs at Notre Dame for four seasons (2015-18). He also had stops at Miami University (2014) and Bethune-Cookman (2011-13).
Additionally, Denson was a Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship participant with the Indianapolis Colts (2012-12).
As a player, Denson racked up 4,318 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns during his time at Notre Dame, both school records.
He was eventually draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1999 (seventh round) and played for the Dolphins (1999-2000), Chicago Bears (2001), Colts (2002) and Detroit Lions (2002). He also spent 2004 with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes.
Assistant defensive line — William Peagler
Peagler, 37, worked as Florida’s TEs coach last season after coaching running backs at Michigan State for two years (2020-21).
Before those stops, Peagler served as the offensive director of quality control at Colorado in 2019, director of player personnel and quality control coordinator at Louisiana in 2018 and a graduate assistant at Georgia in 2017.
His coaching journey began as a student assistant at Clemson (2006-09) before heading to Valdosta State as its TEs coach (2010). From there, he had stops at Louisiana (2011-13), Coffeyville Community College (2014), Olive Branch High School (2015) and Minnesota (2016).
Assistant to the head coach — Brandon Schwab
Schwab carries with him 14 years of NFL experience, all of which came with the St. Louis Rams (1999-2012).
He began as a scouting assistant for seven seasons before working as the team’s offensive quality control coach for three years. He then pivoted to pro and area scout roles for the remainder of his Rams tenure.
Assistant special teams — Sam Sewell
Sewell, 34, joins Arizona’s ranks after working as Eastern Michigan’s special teams coordinator last season. He also worked with running backs during his four-year stint at EMU.
Before that, Sewell spent time at Indiana State (2017-18), Colorado State University-Pueblo (2015-16, 2010-12) and McKendree University (2013-14).
Sewell played college ball at Northern Colorado from 2006-10.
Director, football performance — Shea Thompson
Thompson, 38, heads to the desert after spending the last four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers as their director of performance monitoring and an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Prior to his time in San Francisco, Thompson served as sports scientist in the Cincinnati Bengals’ strength and conditioning department (2016-18) after working as a sports science specialist with Ignition Athletic Performance Group.
Thompson also made a stop at the University of Minnesota as its assistant strength and conditioning coach (2012-15) and interned at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.