As the Arizona Cardinals announced the firing of Steve Wilks, many began to turn their sights on who would step in and take control of the team moving forward. The Cardinals are desperate to find a coach who can turn things around and improve on a 3-13 season. Arizona has some pieces that is attractive to any coach, but there is a cloud overhead with general manager Steve Keim trying to save his own job. Today we take a look at the coaching carousel and who Arizona may target over the next few weeks. The list is not complete, but rather just a group of coaches to keep your eyes on. Many of those listed are candidates who received interest last offseason but did not land a job, while others are surrounded by rumors.
The former Green Bay Packers head man lost his job after a crushing defeat to the Cardinals. It was the first time Arizona had won a game at Lambeau Field and it was the final straw for Green Bay management. McCarthy brings the pedigree of a Super Bowl victory and having worked with Aaron Rodgers since his second year in the league. It has been rumored that he has already told the organization that he is not interested but nothing has been made official.
Bowles was fired on Monday by the New York Jets. In four years with the Jets, Bowles made one playoff appearance, which came in his first year. Since that time the Jets have not won more than five games. Bowles spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals. It would be interesting to see if the Cardinals interest in Bowles as they just fired a defensive minded head coach themselves.
An onside kick and a bad interception kept Caldwell from a Super Bowl victory while head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. When Peyton Manning sat out the 2011 season due to a neck injury, the Colts collapsed and Caldwell was fired. He then found his way to the Lions where the team could never get over the hump. Caldwell is an offensive minded coach who seems to have the respect of most around the league. In his seven years as a head coach, Caldwell has just two losing seasons.
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Matt LaFleur – Titans Offensive Coordinator
The current Titans Offensive Coordinator has been a hot commodity since the end of the 2017 season. LaFleur was the coordinator in name only while with the Rams before joining the Titans. The Tennessee offense has been wildly inconsistent in 2018 but LaFleur has dealt with a season ending injury to tight end Delanie Walker and injury struggles to starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. Regardless of the struggles LaFleur remains a popular candidate. Expect him to receive multiple requests for interviews.
Josh McDaniels – Patriots Offensive Coordinator
McDaniels served as head coach of the Broncos in 2009 and 2010. He then spent one season with the Rams before returning back to the Patriots. In his 13 years as either an offensive coordinator or head coach, McDaniels has had an offense in the top 10 for scoring 10 out of 13 season. However, upon deeper review, all 10 season came as the OC with the Patriots and Tom Brady as quarterback. McDaniels also initially agreed to become the Colts head coach last offseason before deciding against and returning the Patriots.
George Edwards – Vikings Defensive Coordinator
Edwards has spent eight seasons as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. He spent one year with Washington, two with Buffalo, and the last five in Minnesota. Since the 2014 season, the worst an Edwards defense has ranked is 18th in points allowed. Edwards has been in the league as a coach since 1998.
Vic Fangio – Bears Defensive Coordinator
Arizona fans should be familiar with Fangio from his time with the 49ers. His defenses were some of the best during those years and helped lead San Francisco to three consecutive NFC Championship Games. During his four years with the Bears, the defenses have gotten progressively better and took a major leap with the addition of Khalil Mack. It is also important to note that Fangio has done well to incorporate his young talent and find ways to highlight the strengths of his players.
Dave Toub – Chiefs Special Teams Coordinator
Toub has been a candidate for a head coaching position since his time with the Bears. He interviewed in 2012 after the Bears fired Lovie Smith. After being passed over, he joined the Chiefs for the 2013 season. Since that time, the Chiefs have routinely had a top 10 special teams unit. Toub was named associate head coach heading into the 2018 season by Andy Reid. Toub is the only person on the list who has not served as an offensive or defensive coordinator in the NFL.
Zac Taylor – Rams Quarterbacks Coach
Taylor is a hot candidate heading into the offseason. However, he is the only candidate being talked about for both head coaching and offensive coordinator positions. Taylor has spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Rams, most recently as the quarterbacks coach this season. He held the same position with the Dolphins from 2012-2015 before spending a year in college as the offensive coordinator for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats.
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Lincoln Riley – University of Oklahoma Head Coach
Riley took over the reigns of the Oklahoma Sooners after longtime head coach, Bob Stoops, retired prior to the 2017 college football season. The Sooners have earned back to back births in the College Football Playoffs. Riley also has the shine from coaching the last two Heisman Trophy winners in quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Riley’s offenses have been explosive since becoming the offensive coordinator in Oklahoma in 2015. It will be interesting to see if any NFL team can tempt Riley away from the college game.
Jim Harbaugh – University of Michigan Head Coach
Would the Cardinals try to lure back Harbaugh to the NFL? In four seasons with the 49ers, Harbaugh went to three straight conference championship games and a Super Bowl. He went 44-19-1 in four seasons, including 5-3 in the playoffs. Could Harbaugh come back to the NFC West and take out his frustration on his former employer?
Time for the Ride
We will know more as time goes by. One thing is for certain, Keim will need to make the right choice or his tenure as general manager could come to end quickly. Arizona is in the middle of the pack as far as attractiveness for potential candidates. As news comes in we will be updating the list and reporting on the candidates. Have someone you think should be considered? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
– Ryan Adverderada is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Cardinals. Like and follow on Follow @ryanadverderada