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Cardinals Rally Around Coordinators Nick Rallis and Drew Petzing

Arizona Cardinals Introduce Jonathan Gannon as Head Coach Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Don’t get it twisted, new Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort is hand-in-hand with new HC Jonathan Gannon in building a staff that can create the kind of swift and natural alignments between team management and the coaching staff.

Over the last 18 hours we have learned that the Cardinals have hired 29 year old Nick Rallis, former Eagles LB coach, as the DC, and have hired 35 year old Drew Petzing, former Browns’ TE and QB coach, as the OC.

Nick Rallis


  • Chose to continue his stellar work with Jonathan Gannon’s in Arizona, disappointing a number of suitors including the Broncos’ Sean Payton (wha-wah, wha-wah).
  • As one of the key assistant coaches on the Eagles defense which was ranked #1 in the NFL by PFF (85.9), Nick Rallis did a fabulous job coaching up the Eagles’ starting linebackers this year:

—- SOLB Haason Reddick (84.6) —- Pro Bowl —- 87 QB pressures, 19.5 sacks, 46 tackles, 6 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 3 pass breakups, 0 TDs in coverage

___ MLB T.J. Edwards (81.6) —- 159 combined tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 7 pass breakups, 0 TDs in coverage

—- WOLB Kyzir White (66.5) —-110 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups, O TDs in coverage

  • Could help to attract the following UFAs:

—- DTs: Fletcher Cox, 32, 60.2; Javon Hargrave, 30, 80.1; Ndamukong Suh, 36, 63.6; DT Linval Joseph, 34, 57.1

—- DEs: Brandon Graham, 34, 89.8; Robert Quinn, 32, 53.9

—- LBs: T.J. Edwards, 26, 81.6; Kyzir White, 26, 66.5

—- CB: James Bradbury, 29, 71.7

—- Ss: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, 25, 66.2; Marcus Epps, 27, 57.6


  • Is he ready to make the jump from LB coach to DC?
  • Will be he make the defensive calls on game day?
  • Can he take Zaven Collins’ and Isaiah Simmons’ games to a Pro Bowl level?

Drew Petzing


  • Should bring a Kevin Stefanski-esque style of offense, which is run and play-action oriented and features a number of 2-3 TE sets, plus a vertical passing game on the perimeter.
  • Was a TEs coach who did such a good job with Austin Hooper, David Njoku and Harrison Bryant that with the need to improve their QB situation, Kevin Stefanski moved Petzing over to QB coach.
  • Note: Austin Hooper (68.8) is a UFA, coming off a 41 catch, 444 yards, 2 TD season with the Titans. With Zach Ertz out until mid-season or so, Hopper could be a nice fit to team up with Trey McBride and hopefully Maxx Williams.
  • Has worked with a number of intriguing QBs, quite a few of which are UFAs this year: Jacoby Brissett, Joshua Dobbs, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Sean Mannion, Baker Mayfield, and Nick Mullens. Jacoby Brissett graded well (per PFF) this past season starting the Browns’ first 11 games at 82.6. Brissett coming to Arizona with Petzig as OC would seem like a superb scenario.
  • The wild card QB? Would Baker Mayfield be willing to do a one year deal with the Cardinals?
  • The sleeper? Joshua Dobbs make a great impression generating 7 TDs drives for the Browns in the pre-season. Then, he made a good impression late in the season with the Titans. Perhaps Petzing’s ties to Dobbs could be factor in attracting him to the Cardinals. Listen to this interview regarding Drew Pentzig’s confidence in Jacoby Brissett (5:00 mark) and in Josh Dobbs (8:40 mark).
  • Other notable CLE offensive UFAs: RB Kareem Hunt, 27, 67.0; C Ethan Pocic, 27, 79.0; RB D’Ernest Johnson, 25, 66.2; TE Pharoah Brown, 28, 59.4
  • Coaching style: check interview —-
  • Video about getting plays into and out of the huddle quickly:
  • Possible OL Coach: Scott Peters (Browns’ assistant OL coach under the legendary Bill Callahan —- Drew Petzing knows him well and Peters was a former Pac-10 standout OL at ASU, was a 4th round pick of the Eagles in 2002 and played for the Cardinals from 2007-2009). Here’s a great clip of Peters giving a pass pro coaching clinic —-


  • How will Drew Petzing adapt his offense to Kyler Murray’s skill set?
  • Is he well prepared to coordinate the offense and to call the plays?
  • Will there be a fewer penalties and more discipline on offense this year?


Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon are following the Eagles’ model in 2021 when they hired a young, first-time head coach in Nick Sirianni —- who then hired two young first-time coordinators in OC Shane Steichen and DC Jonathan Gannon. There was uncertainty at the QB position (Jalen Hurts) and with the Eagles’ under-achieving (19th) defense when they arrived —- it appeared that the Eagles were clearly in a “reset” mode with the hope of getting back into the playoffs.

In hiring two coordinators whom he knows and trust very well, Jonathan Gannon is giving himself and his staff a head start in terms of alignment within the organization and in terms of being able to hit the ground running with the Combine, free agency, the draft, the issuing of the playbooks to the players and the start of OTAs.

The buzz and energy that this staff is going to create could rejuvenate and inspire the entire organization. Hopefully, this off-season is a stark contrast to the failure of the Cardinals’ off-season last year. With new coaches there are learning curves. However, having been a huge part of the Eagles’ reset with new, young coaches for the past two years, JG has a chance to make the team competitive this season.