Since Ray Horton was brought on to be the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals by former coach Ken Whisenhunt, he has truly been a blessing. Many were skeptical at first, as the defense simply looked no better than it was before. But Horton continued to stress that it took time and that the players would eventually buy into the scheme.
Then, about halfway through his first season as the DC, that is exactly what happened. The defense went on a terror and the Cards went 7-2 to finish the 2011-12 season.
Now, Whisenhunt is gone and Horton has the chance to climb the ladder once again. Team officials including president Michael Bidwill and front office personnel Steve Keim and Jason Licht have interviewed Horton to possibly become the team's next head coach. And they have given him two separate interviews.
The two interviews show that the team has serious interest in promoting him. He is not just another Rooney Rule candidate that they are trying to get out of the way. They like the way the defense has progressed under him and think he can make this football team better.
And it seems Horton thinks the same thing, which is why he wants to stay on board. Check this tweet from the Arizona Republic's Kent Somers, who spoke to Horton after his second interview.
Clarify. Horton says #azcardinals are his #1 choice. Would love to stay. Likes the org, fan base, way he's been treated.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) January 2, 2013
While Horton may or may not be the Cardinals' first choice, they are definitely his. And why would he want to leave? He has the scheme he wants installed in place and, if he leaves, he would just have to re-teach it again. That takes time and he is a coach that wants to win now.
But be wary, Cardinals fans. Horton also stated that he has not even thought of the possibility of returning as a defensive coordinator. He has aspirations to be a head coach and will leave if given the opportunity elsewhere.
Just know that if it comes down to coaching the Cardinals and any other team in the NFL, it sounds like Horton will stay here. And that is exactly what Cards fans should want to hear.