On Saturday afternoon, we know who the Cardinals brass was rooting for in the playoff matchup between the Broncos and Ravens. With the untimely elimination of the Denver Broncos from the postseason, the Arizona Cardinals find themselves free to interview -- for a second time -- Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
One of the things many worried about was the waiting game with McCoy. As long as the Broncos continued to advance their way through the playoffs, that left the Cardinals stuck in a holding pattern, unable to hire him. They had fallback options in Ray Horton and others, but it is clear that they are waiting for Mike McCoy.
Now they have their chance.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Pro Football Talk) notes that the Cards "could" be targeting McCoy for their head coaching job, which would allow them to keep Ray Horton as their defensive coordinator. Horton has one year left on his current contract and cannot break that contract unless he is hired as a head coach. Teams are not allowed to solicit his services as a coordinator.
The Cardinals appear to have played their cards (no pun intended) correctly by taking their time and letting things play out. They figured that Horton would not be hired by anyone else, despite his interviews with teams like the Browns and Bills. One has to wonder if he was even under serious consideration for those teams, as he did fulfill their Rooney Rule requirements.
So it does not look as if Horton will get a job, leaving him in the desert under a different head coach. That guy could be McCoy. There are really no other candidates on the Cards' radar that make a ton of sense (unless you buy into the Jay Gruden interview, which you shouldn't). McCoy will likely be the guy, unless someone else -- say, the Chargers -- hires him first.
As for next year, though, Horton becomes a free agent and may choose to sign elsewhere after being passed over for the chance to be a head coach in Arizona. But for now, the Cardinals look like they will be able to get the guy they want and keep their stellar defense intact.