It was this time last year that we were wondering who our next head coach would be. Ken Whisenhunt was sent packing, as was then General Manager, Rod Graves. We all had our favorite, many of us wanted Steve Keim to replace Graves, but Keim was also drawing interest from several other organizations. Michael Bidwill pulled the trigger to keep Keim in the desert.
With Keim the new Sheriff in town, it was time for him to set out to find his handy dandy Deputy. There were several names that peaked our interests. First and foremost was our own Defensive Coordinator at the time. Ray Horton. He had interviewed twice for the position, so we all assumed he was the front runner. Than came the "leaks" that Andy Reid would come to Arizona, and a deal was "95% done", We were all shocked when the news came out that he was going to take the job with the Chiefs.
So instantaneously we all returned to our desire for Ray Horton. The other guys who came into town, Mike McCoy, Jay Gruden, as well as a handful of others, really didn't wet our appetites.
Then came into the picture a 60 year old coach, who had gone around the NFL, and had just earned NFL Coach of the Year honors for his interim work with the Colts while Chuck Pagano was fighting leukemia. Bruce Arians. On January 17th, 2013, he became the Arizona Cardinals Head Coach, and Keim had found his Deputy.
However, Arians tenure did not start off well in the eyes of the fans. Arians wanted to bring in his buddy Todd Bowles to coach his defense, and with news that Ray Horton had thrown a fit when Keim told him they wanted someone else for the job, it seemed all but likely. The initial reaction was ugly.
However, as Arians started to build his staff together with the likes of Tom Pratt, Tom Moore, and Stump Mitchell, we all slowly forgot about our new defensive coordinator.
Draft came around, and we were all giddy, like children on Christmas Eve, just wondering who we would select this year.
The draft came with steals. Tyrann Mathieu in round three, Andre Ellington in six, Tony Jefferson as an undrafted player. We couldn't wait for our new toys to be broken out.
Preseason showed we weren't quite ready. The timing between Palmer and the receivers was horrendous. Play after play they worked away trying to get this scheme down pat.
Early on in the year, it was not just players, but the coaching. Arians would do something that worked perfectly, than run a play that failed, time after time after time. People started to question whether or not Arians had his wits about him. But come Week 8, Arizona found its groove.
Defensively they proved Bowles was not a failure of a DC as we had come to believe. His second half adjustments all season had shocked us all.
Slowly Arians started to call plays that fit his players, not his scheme. And each time he did that, the offense got more and more spectacular. He finally unleashed Andre Ellington, he called his passing plays around his offensive line, instead of hoping they would block just long enough.
Arians started the season out slow, understandably. A coach, no matter how long he's been in the league, still needs time to adjust to the ways of being a full time head coach. Yes he had that experience before, but in 2012 he called plays the way Chuck Pagano would have.
Arians left us with plenty of memories in 2013. From the quotes during his press conferences, to his energetic, yet calming soul on the sidelines. There's four more years of Arians at the least. For his first year, in building a team from scrap, to learning what he has, to giving a player motivation when they're down, and for sticking with Palmer till the end, Bruce Arians is awarded an A-, the only thing holding him back, was his lack of consistent play calling earl in the year.
What would you rank Arians and why? Vote Below!
What's one of your favorite moments of this season? Player related, Coach Related, or just a game in general. I'd love to hear them all!