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Arizona Cardinals head coaching search: Part IV

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The Cardinals are down to three, here's what we know.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Word is the Pat Shurmur is the Cardinals’ leading candidate, followed by Steve Wilks and Mike Munchak.

Per the NY Post, the Giants’ 3 finalists are Shurmur, Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels.

Let’s pause right here—-if the Giants make an offer to Shurmur, chances are, he will coach the Giants. Let’s face it—-the Giants have QB Eli Manning, the #2 pick in the draft (likely Darnold or Rosen), one of the top trios of WRs in the NFL (Beckham, Marshall and Shepard), a potential maverick at TE (Evan Engram) and a star-studded defense (DE Pierre-Paul, DE Vernon Olivier, DT Snacks Harrison, CB Janoris Jenkins, CB DRC, CB Eli Apple and Pro Bowl S Landon Collins).

It is also possible that Shurmur could convince the Giants tho move on from Eli Manning so that he could bring Case K, Teddy B or Sam B with him while he grooms Darnold or Rosen. The Giants are on the cusp of moving on from Manning anyway.

The aspects that might dissuade Shurmur from coaching the Giants—-the pressure cooker which is New York—-and inserting a team chock-full of divas and malcontents. Plus, the fans seem to be adamant about holding on to Eli Manning—-and, in light of Manning’s struggles over the past few years—-Shurmur might prefer a fresh start in Arizona.

The Cardinals’ #2 favorite is Steve Wilks. Curiously, despite the owners in attendance during his early week meeting with the Giants, and with their new GM Dave Getelman (who knows Wilks as well as anyone) presiding, Wilks didn’t make the Giants’ short list. Furthermore, Wilks’ scheduled meeting with the Colts was cancelled. Some are saying that the Colts realized they strictly want an offensive minded HC, while others are saying that Wilks cancelled the meeting.

Regardless, right now it looks like only one team, the Cardinals, have Wilks on their short list. Reports are that Wilks may have John DeFilippo lined up as his OC, which certainly makes a Wilks/JDF package very appealing. However, let’s pause here for a minute—-if the report that JDF is atop the Seahawks’ OC list is accurate, why would JDF choose the Cardinals over the Seahawks?

While Michael Bidwill has a good spin regarding the Cardinals’ QB situation (with no one signed the HC and OC could have a hand in which QB they want), as the saying goes “a bird in hand is better than two in the bush”, and that bird happens to be Russell Wilson. Ff you have HC aspirations the way JDF does, you take the bird in hard, especially that stunning osprey.

If JDF signs with the Seahawks, where does that leave Wilks? Can he attract Mike Shula? How about Darell Bevell? Apparently, Wilks mentioned Mike McCoy as a possibility.

i would prefer Mike Shula over Bevell and McCoy. Although i would rate them 1A. Shula, 1B Bevell. 3. McCoy. Shula’s offenses are very balanced—-he calls a good mix of runs and play action passes. Bevell is more difficult to assess because the Seahawks’ best plays were often off of RW scrambles and read options.

Interestingly, Mike McCoy reportedly has interest from the Bills to be their new OC, now that they have let Rick Dennison go.

Number 3 on the Cardinals’ reported list is Mike Munchak, the mystery candidate—-in that there has been no word or speculation (at least from what I am aware of) of whom he would bring with him as OC and DC. Not sure how fond he is of the Steelers’ OC Todd Haley, but after Haley’s freakish bar mugging incident and a season in which the Steelers coaches appointed an intermediary to stand between Haley and Big Ben on the sidelines during games 9to mitigate tensions), chances are Haley will be out as the Steelers’ OC. A Munchak/Haley offensive combination is intriguing. Who then would be the DC?

According to reports, the Bears are showing interest in James Bettcher, as they anticipate Vic Fangio might wish to go with Pat Shurmur wherever Shurmur signs.

Speaking of Fangio, it’s actually quite a compliment to Shurmur that Fangio wants to hook up with him. Of course, in the NFCCentral, Fangio had to lock horns with Shurmur 3 times over the past two years. Fangio won over Norv Turner’s (OC) Vikings 20-10 in October of 2016, but after Shurmur was named the OC after Turner’s hasty resignation during the 2016 season, Shurmur has won all three encounters with Fangio by scores of 38-10, 20-17 and 23-10.

At this point, the Giants, Lions, Colts and Cardinals are waiting for the playoff games this weekend to see which apples are shaken from the tree. By current rules, the Cardinals can meet next week with any of HC candidates they have already interviewed, even if the coaches are still in the playoffs.

If you, like I and others, are hoping the Cardinals can sign Pat Shurmur with Vic Fangio as the DC, we have to hope the Giants go with Patricia or McDaniels and that the Lions are still focused on a defensive minded head coach with old Patriots’ ties, either Patricia or Mike Vrabel.

If it came down to the Colts and the Cardinals, it’s possible that Shurmur would rather work for Michael Bidwill and not Jim Irsay, especially in light of the uncertainty of Andrew Luck’s future.