Jonathan Gannon, Cardinals sticking with the process with Year 2 loading

Feb 9, 2024, 10:01 AM

SCOTTSDALE – Away from the Arizona Cardinals training facility and State Farm Stadium, football remains very much on the brain for head coach Jonathan Gannon.

Even out on the TPC Scottsdale driving range ahead of Thursday’s Annexus Pro-Am at the 2024 WM Phoenix Open, the head coach found himself getting back into his typical football jargon.

And of course, it all started with a “Happy Wednesday!”

“I miss it. We don’t change,” Gannon said. “I don’t shut it down much, I can put it down for a little bit, but there’s just so much to do and we got to be on every detail of the offseason. That was the plan and that’s what we’re doing.”

After a short hiatus from the daily grind of the regular season, it’s back to work for Gannon and the Cardinals as they look to improve upon a 4-13 record that wasn’t up to Gannon’s standards.

And while there is a silver lining to take from a down year — three of those wins came against playoff teams and a new foundation was undoubtedly set — Gannon will be the first to say they have a long way to go heading into Year 2.

For Gannon and Co., it’s all about sticking with the process, taking an inward look at the franchise and continuing to focus on player development.

“We’re just going to do like we’ve always done, take a good hard look at acquisitions, what we’re doing schematically, what we’re doing in everything,” Gannon said. “That’s what I mean when I say tear it all down.

“There’s going to be obviously some carry over but we start the process over, attack free agency, attack the draft, pour into our players and all the resources that they have at their disposal, really improve ourselves individually, collectively, so that the players improve.”


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Jonathan Gannon’s growth and reflection

Given some time to look back on his first year in the desert, Gannon admitted there’s quite a bit for him to clean up from a coaching standpoint.

“Too many to talk about right now. I got to hit some balls,” Gannon said with his tee time rapidly approaching and not one ball hit on the driving range.

The head coach did, however, peel back the curtain on what he believed was his best trait in 2023.

“I think just pouring into the players and making sure that we kind of stayed (even keeled),” Gannon said. “I always use the term ‘don’t ride the emotional role coaster.’ I think our staff and our players did a good job of that.”

Another big positive for Gannon is making sure his coaching staff remained intact heading into Year 2.

“I think I’ve grown this last year being in the seat that I’m in and I’m really excited and glad that we got everybody back,” Gannon added. “Continuity of staff was important to me and some guys had some opportunities but decided to stay, so it’s good and I’m looking forward to it.”

Arizona Cardinals coaching staff gets more intel on 2024 NFL Draft prospects

Speaking of Gannon’s coaching staff, numerous members took part in the Shrine Bowl and Senior Bowl, two events showcasing potential draft prospects.

Among the Cardinals coaching the pair of bowl games were quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Drew Terrell, pass game specialist Spencer Whipple, running backs coach Autry Denson, offensive quality control coach Connor Senger and assistant offensive line coach Chris Cook.

In addition to further getting names out and enhancing their reach, the handful of Arizona coaches got a chance to work closely with multiple prospects that could very well be on the draft board when the Cardinals are on the clock this April.

“That was great experience for those guys and they get a good look at the players, too,” Gannon said. “They did a good job, had a good time down there, got to get some good information, coach some guys up. That’s one tool that we’ll use with the acquisition period, which is huge, when you can get your hands on them for a week. So, I’m excited those guys got to do that.”

How’s the golf game, JG?

Speaking of golf, how’s the swing?

“It’s probably broken but we’ll grind it out,” Gannon said before the round. “I don’t play a lot during the year at all. So just getting back into the swing of things but got a couple new wedges in the bag.

“I’m up and down, streaky. Right in (the 4-10 handicap range). Sevenish. … I’m a better caddy than player I think.”

Unfortunately for Gannon and the rest of the Annexus Pro-Am field, the round was cut way short due to weather and standing water.

And although the head coach didn’t get the chance to live up to his hole-in-one prediction on No. 16, Gannon still took a lot away from the limited outing.

“A lot of people, obviously great support. It’s a great sports city. Just really excited to be a part of this and have a good time,” Gannon said.

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