The Arizona Cardinals may have been the last team to hire their new head coach, but it was decision they didn’t take lightly.
General Manager Steve Keim told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Show Friday the Cardinals ultimately found the best possible coach to move their franchise in the right direction.
“Enthusiasm, passion, intensity,” Keim explained. “Those are some of the words that you can describe Bruce Arians with. But then on top of that we were looking for a guy who was a leader, a guy who was a motivator and we think that’s Bruce Arians.”
The team did their due diligence before making a decision on who would take over the reins as head coach because they didn’t want to make a move that would prove to be detrimental to the team’s future.
“We didn’t want to panic and jump on somebody we weren’t comfortable with and we knew all along that we wanted to talk to [Arians], it’s just some of logistics had to be worked out,” Keim said. “Once he came into the building we knew it was [Arians] all along.”
Arians’ strong quarterback background played a significant factor in the decision to bring him on board. He has worked with an esteemed group of signal callers, including Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and most recently Indianapolis Colts phenom Andrew Luck.
But Keim said Arians’ ability to maximize the talent he’s given was equally impressive.
“Most people are pointing to the success that he had winning nine games as interim coach and I mean that’s a part of it but at the same time I think you have to look at the complete resume, the body of work.
“When you do that with [Arians], he’s coached some great quarterbacks there’s no doubt about it but he’s also developed some guys and he’s gotten the best out of his players and that’s what we’re asking, we’re asking our coaches to cater to players’ strengths and put them in a position to succeed.”
The Cardinals are hopeful Arians can bring some continuity and consistency to their quarterback conundrum.
“Regardless of who it is, it’s consistency,” Keim said. “We’re going to sit down and we’re going to evaluate all our options but I don’t think this is the time where we can comment on that because we haven’t thoroughly gone through the process.”
Keim acknowledged it’s a “quarterback-driven league” and the importance of finding a long-term solution is at the top of the list of priorities for the general manager and his new head coach.
“He has a real vision, a real plan and like I said when he started talking ball with me you could imagine what my excitement level was,” Keim said.
Arians is now in the process of assembling his staff, which Keim will help him build. Arians had promised the DC job to Todd Bowles, which made highly-touted defensive coordinator Ray Horton expendable.
Horton agreed to a four-year contract with the Cleveland Browns on Friday.
Keim said the decision to let Horton go in favor of bringing in Arians was not easy. But in the end, the Cardinals’ general manager trusted the move was the right one.
“We had to talk it out because there’s high regard for [Horton] here but at the same time I think you have to give the coach his ability to find the right fit and I think you back him at the end of the day,” Keim said.
A new era has officially begun for the Arizona Cardinals and their newly-minted general manager likes what’s on the horizon.
“I think this is a start to something special,” Keim said.