One day after interviewing the Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, another current offensive coordinator was brought to Phoenix to interview for the Cardinals head coaching vacancy. That was Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians.
It was an emotional and memorable year for Arians as he was named the Colts’ interim head coach after head coach Chuck Pagano was forced to take a leave from the team for his fight with Leukemia. Arians did so for 12 games and did a masterful job rallying the team to a 9-3 record. For Arians, it was a year he will never forget.
“Veteran leadership goes a long long way,” said Arians when meeting with the media from the Cardinals facilities Thursday. “Maybe one of the best years of veteran leadership I have been a part of, especially when Chuck (Pagano) got sick. And I leaned on those guys a lot every day to relay the message to the youngsters.”
Arians has wanted to be head coach but he pointed out Thursday that because he has been a part of so many successful teams over the years, which most recently include five years with Pittsuburgh and one with the Colts, most of the head coaching vacancies had been filled the time his season was over.
“Maybe I was a victim of that a couple times,” Arians mentioned. “Hey, I’ll take the Super Bowl ring.”
Because of the amazing ride Arians had with the Colts this season, he has grown very close to the team and what they built together going from a two win team to a playoff team in one year. Arians said when he was first approached about head coaching positions, he responded that he will have to have a “heck-of-a feeling” about the situation. So what will it take to pry Arians away from Indy?
“Is this right for me and am I right for them?” explained Arians. “I have a pretty good gig going back in Indianapolis so it’s not a full court press for me. Yes do I want to be a head coach? Definitely. But just to be one? No.”
“When a team wins, opportunities present themselves for everyone,” Arians added. “Chances to speak with teams have occurred for me. I’ve looked forward to this one (interview with the Cardinals) for a while.”
Of course one of the burning questions for anyone looking to take over as head coach for the Cardinals is the quarterback situation. Arians most recently has been a part of drafting and developing quarterbacks by the name of Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck.
“I think guys can improve, guys can be coached to be better,” mentioned Arians. “There is a door number two somewhere…Is that a better option for our organization and collectively as a group? We would make that decision. If that helps the Arizona Cardinals win a world championship then that’s the direction that you go. If not, you take the guys you got, you coach them as hard as they can and make them better.”
The other burning question for Arians is whether or not he would keep on defensive coordinator Ray Horton who has done a great job developing the Cardinals defense as it stands today. But Arians would not comment on coaching personnel at that time.
With the Jaguars hiring Gus Bradley as their head coach on Thursday, the Cardinals are now the last of seven teams that had head coaching vacancies at the end of the 2012 season to fill the position.