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Arizona Cardinals Head Coaching Search: Flip or Flor(es)

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After Mike Munchak backed out, it is now down to four and going young may be the best road to take.

Oakland Raiders v Cleveland Browns

So, Mike Munchak prefers to stay in Pittsburgh. What I found curious about his press release statement is that he didn’t thank Michael Bidwill and the Cardinals for their consideration of him. To me, his statement was intended to elate Steelers’ fans who have become tired of Arizona trying to be Pittsburgh West. The irony is that the Steelers fans were tepid at best about Ken Whisenhunt and they were delighted and even delirious to see Bruce Arians move on. But it’s the Cardinals’ signing of Steelers’ free agents that irks them more than anything else---it goes back to All Pro G Alan Faneca. That one really stuck in their craws.

Upon further review...I think I may have misread MB’s declaration that “we don’t copycat anyone.” I thought for sure that he was talking about considering a young HC (JDF), like the Rams did last year when they hired Sean McVay. The added context to this is that it was reported that Bidwill had interest in McVay last year when BA’s health was a concern. And when Bidwill mentioned the copycat comment, it was at a time when it appeared the Cardinals did not have an interest in meeting for second time with DeFilippo.

But now I wonder---was the copycat comment a reference to the Steelers and the Cardinals’ habit of interviewing their coaches and trying to sign their free agents?

Because since that comment, Munchak declined a 2nd interview and the Cardinals have requested a 2nd interview with JDF. Perhaps JDF is back in the picture because of Pat Shurmur’s reported wink wink deal with the Giants. But, nevertheless, Flip is back in the picture. And that gets me excited---for one simple reason: this is the year when the Cardinals finally have to acquire their QBOF and the thought of putting that QB in the best possible hands, in the same system under the same head coach hopefully for the next 10 years, makes complete sense.

Some are saying, yeah, but why not just hired Flip as OC? What? To have another Todd Bowles scenario where he’s a HC somewhere else in 1 or 2 years? What would that mean for the QBOF? Would we want another Blaine Gabbert scenario where he goes through a different OC every year?

The other thing is---Flip is being interviewed as a head coach. If head coach is off the table, he is going to take the best OC job he is offered. Chances are, under those circumstances, he won’t pick the Cardinals.

Going back to Munchak for a minute, what I wonder is whether Bidwill pushed DC James Bettcher on him and Munchak pushed back.

Bertrand Berry yesterday made the point that the new HC of the Cardinals should not and cannot accept retaining James Bettcher as DC. He said that because Bettcher threw his hat in the ring as one of the HC candidates, if John DeFilippo or Brian Flores or Keith Armstrong gets the job, Bettcher would quite understandably question “why him, and not me?”

Bertrand Berry is 100% correct. James Bettcher either gets the HC job or he should move on.

The wild card here, imo, is Brian Flores. if he can present a plan for the QBOF which includes a highly competent OC, he’s my guy. The fact that he has excelled in every facet of such a diverse role with the Patriots---scouting, offense, defense and STs---plus his ability to game plan, his excellent communication and organizational skills---he’s the kind of leader who can make the Cardinals a force to be reckoned with for years.

What may work very well in Flores’ favor is that there are some very good, experienced OCs on the market right now: Mike Mularkey, Darrell Bevell, Mike Shula, Jim Bob Cooter, Rick Dennison, Todd Downing, Rob Chudzinski. Or maybe Flores has an outstanding college coach in mind or an up and coming sleeper candidate.

I am also very interested in the prospects of Kris Richard as DC if he is recommended by one of the candidates. Per some reports it appears that Chuck Pagano might be wanting to take a little time off before he re-emerges as a DC. Steve Spagnuolo is a strong DC candidate, but some of his players on the Giants this year really dogged it.

Thus, to me, it’s between DeFilippo and Flores. Two young coaches with tremendous upside, energy, communication skills and enthusiasm.

I think Keith Armstrong and Steve Wilks are intriguing in their own ways. If one of them comes up with a package and a plan that wows Bidwill, then perhaps one of them will emerge.

But, in DeFilippo the Cardinals would be getting a QB guru and a lightning bolt of energy. In Flores, the Cardinals would be getting a meticulous game planner and stellar communicator. Surround either one of them with some competent coordinators and it is game on.