by Ryan Meehan
All of the NFL coaching vacancies have been filled, as Friday former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was introduced as the new head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. While those are very good words to live by and seem to be a very accurate description of the current political state in this country, what the Arizona Cardinals have done by hiring Arians is proof that although you can’t use two bad things to make one at least you can learn from your mistakes and make the best out of a bad situation.
And it’s hard to argue that the Arizona Cardinals hadn’t done that up until Arians’ press conference, as outlined here:
1. Wrong 1: The firing of Ken Whisenhunt
As crazy as it sounds, I was actually really against the decision to get rid of Whisenhunt. While Lovie Smith was also recently canned, Whisenhunt’s losing Super Bowl appearance came two years after Lovie’s. He had a certain fire about him that, and I’ve always really been a fan of that Cowheresque style of coaching.
This is where I would defend Whisenhunt: Look at the play he got from his two putrid quarterbacks and his porous offensive line during that skid. Even the greatest coach in the world couldn’t make that happen: If Vince Lombardi was still alive today and had thirteen Super Bowl rings, he wouldn’t be able to get the fourteenth one if he had Manti Te’o’s girlfriend taking snaps under the protection of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Our first Libertarian President, and what’s left of my dignity rounding out the offensive line. (Although if that was their setup I do believe that the Cards would have scored more points) And they did look great those first four games of the season, so he must have been doing something right.
What might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back:
Anytime that you have a double digit losing streak in a sport where the regular season is only sixteen games in length, you’re going to have some rumbling of a possible change at the head coach position. But to be honest with you, outside of publications in the Southwest I wasn’t really hearing a whole lot from writers calling for his head. I didn’t see any strong opinions, I just heard a lot of talk that he could be fired but not that he was going to be. In other words, I understand it but I guess it still surprised me that he was one of the first ones to go.
2. Wrong 2: The failure to hire Andy Reid
This puzzles me to no end. I just don’t get it. Apparently from what I understand there was a certain dispute over the direction that the team wanted to go in, and there were certain things that Reid was asking for by means of control that they couldn’t see eye to eye on. That I just don’t get, Reid was the best coach available and there’s no way he could have possibly made the Cardinals any worse.
Andy Reid has a great winning percentage when it comes to any active coaches that don’t stalk the sidelines in a hoodie. Players love him, and when his son passed away this past summer, people were amazed at how well he seemed to be handling the loss of his child which has to be difficult for anybody. Anybody who can be that overweight and still pull off such a great career with a team that’s as hated as the Eagles will always have my respect. I am a diehard Giants fan and I can’t tell you how many times I wish he was standing there on the sideline instead of Coughlin.
What might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back:
Perhaps there was a certain similarity that Cardinals management saw in the season that the Eagles had and the one that they had just suffered through. Both teams started out well, and beat AFC teams that are appearing this weekend in the championship game. And then the bottom dropped out of both franchises seemingly overnight. For some reason Reid just wasn’t working out in Philly. Sometimes you just can’t do anything right if you’re not in the right place…If you’re North Dakota’s best surfer it doesn’t really help your cause because you can’t show off your skills. Same went with Philadelphia this year – they had an awful offensive line and by midseason everyone else (including Vick) had completely given up. It is possible that they saw too many similarities and saw that Reid inability to manage the same situation would leave them with a wasted hire and they’d have to start all over again in two years.
3. The right that resulted: The hiring of Arians
Luckily, the Cardinals were able to turn these two scenarios into a positive one as they made the right hire. Although the situation involving Pagano was incredibly unfortunate, Arians impressed me with what he said about his success as interim head coach for the Colts in which he went 9-3.
“I got a taste of the blood.”, said Arians.
Maybe a poor choice of words considering what caused Pagano’s absence, but you see where he is going with this. Arizona now has a smart minded offensive coach that has recent success in the NFL with a young quarterback, which he will most likely get. (Not the level of play that Andrew Luck is known for, but I don’t see them getting a veteran to run that team from here on out)
How this might have happened:
That I have no answer for. Arians was clearly the best available coach after Reid was hired, but why it took so long for him to get hired is beyond me. The Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills had a great opportunity to offer Arians the world to fix their drastic problems, and both failed miserably. Perhaps he didn’t want either job, but both of those teams ended up making very poor selections and you can probably throw the Eagles and the Bears into that mix as well. My point is, I am shocked that with only one coaching job left Arians was still available, it just seems crazy to me.
Now all they have to do is find a quarterback. While this might turn out to be a fucking exhausting task, finding a solid coach is a step in the right direction. I’ve heard rumors that Tebow might be wanting to go to Arizona, but I see why he’s hanging back…He’s waiting to see how well Kaepernick does in the remainder of the playoffs. The reason why he may be doing so is because the further Colin is able to lead the 49ers, the more money he may be able to ask for at his next destination.
The NFC West is not the weak division that it once was, but with some decent direction they will be well coached this year and probably have an increased sense of discipline. Bruce Arians is most certainly a step in the right direction.