Cards introduce Arians as head coach
TEMPE, AZ – On Friday, the Arizona Cardinals introduced their new Head Coach Bruce Arians. Flanked by Michael Bidwell and Steve Keim, Arians has taken the reigns of a team that has steadily declined in the past years since appearing in Super Bowl XLIII. As he appeared in front of the media, Arians seemed determined, poised, and ready to make an impact.
Although he has assisted many franchises in having a quick turnaround, Arians has never before done so in a head coaching role before stepping in for Chuck Pagano as an interim coach for twelve games last season in Indianapolis. This past season, Arians helped a young Colts team led by rookie QB Andrew Luck break out and make the playoffs during a season where there wasn’t much expected out of the franchise. His toughness and confidence is infectious, and his leadership seems tangible.
When asked about his successful ability to help a team with a quick turnaround, Arians stated he will do it with “hard work, great communication by the players, honesty”.
“Sometimes it hurts, but it’s the truth. I’m a straight shooter, and like I said, I don’t come home with any bullets left in the gun.”
Arian’s old-school attitude is akin to his play calling, and that edge could be the attitude that this Cardinals team is lacking. During this past season, a 55-0 drumming by the Seattle Seahawks made many fans and members of the media speculate on this team’s determination. Or more specifically, it made people speculate on if they had just given up. Arians gave the inclination that the attitude of this club will be different.
“They’re going to be accountable. Not to me, but to each other. It’s not my football team. Our players will decide how good we are. It’s their football team. It they want to win, we’ll win.”
Michael Bidwell discussed what separated Arians from the rest of the potential candidates. “Out of all the candidates out there that we spoke with…there was one who was a recent head coach in many ways even though that wasn’t his full on title. He was stepping into Chuck’s position. He did an outstanding job, and in many ways, you saw what he could do. Just looking at him, you knew there was something special there.”
“He has been successful. He has seen things be the greatest in his career, and he has also had to turn things around. He did that just last year in Indianapolis.”
New Cardinals GM Steve Keim was also excited about the hiring of Arians and his football IQ. “The words that I think describe him: passion, enthusiasm. You get in the film room with Bruce and after 10 minutes you realize that this guy forgot more football than most people know.”
Possibly the biggest question on the minds of many at the press conference was about defensive coordinator Ray Horton and his future with the team. Horton was one of the top candidates for the head coaching job, and it has been reported that he was not happy about being passed over for the position. Arians did not mince words, stating that in fact Horton will not be part of the coaching staff next season. “I think that when I started to put a staff together in my mind, I thought about some certain guys. I talked with Michael when I got here about that situation, and I didn’t feel like at this point and time that’s where I wanted to go. We talked about it at length. Like I said, I have all the respect for Ray in the world. We worked together in Pittsburgh; we worked together with a Super Bowl team. He has done a great job here. But having it for my first time, this is a direction that I feel very strong about.”
Horton did have a connection with many players on the team, especially on the defense, and Arians made it clear that he will be the one running this football team. “It needed to be a football team that was directed by me, and anytime there is carryover, we don’t want guys being able to go somewhere else to voice their opinion. I didn’t want to put Ray in that situation. It’s not fair to him. If a guy has a gripe or a concern, come to me and that’s just the way we’re going to do business.”
Arians has a long road ahead, but the one thing that few can dispute is whether or not this Cardinals organization, who have had losing streaks of 6 games or longer over each of the last three seasons, are in need of change.