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Cardinals eliminate Vance Joseph and Brian Callahan from head coach search

Lou Anarumo, Brian Flores, and Mike Kafka will have second interviews with Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Per Bally Sports’ Michael Silver, the Arizona Cardinals have informed their current defensive coordinator Vance Joseph that he is out of contention for the team’s head coach job. And according to Albert Breer, Bengals’ offensive coordinator Brian Callahan has been removed from the Cardinals’ search as well.

Joseph was interviewed for the Cardinals’ head coach job on January 18, a couple days after the hiring of general manager Monti Ossenfort.

He has been with the Cardinals’ organization since 2019 as the defensive coordinator on Kliff Kingsbury’s staff. The defense went from allowing the most scrimmage yards in 2019 to having the 13th and 11th-best units in that category the following two seasons. Unfortunately for them in 2022, they plummeted back down to 21st in scrimmage yards allowed while giving up the second-most points (26.4 ppg) in the NFL.

With the exception of this season, the Cardinals’ defense has improved in consecutive years. Joseph has been a very well-respected coach in their locker room. Byron Murphy recorded a career-high four interceptions in 2021 and has been a consistent performer at cornerback. Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson have become one of the best safety duos in the NFL. Chandler Jones set the franchise record in single-season sacks (19) and is their all-time record hold in career sacks as a Cardinal (71.5).

Arizona Cardinals v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

In an interview with at the 2022 Pro Bowl practices, Cardinals’ star safety Budda Baker said “Hopefully our whole defense isn’t going to be taken away, but we know with new head coaches usually they bring in their people.”

Even though there are Cardinals players that want Vance Joseph back, the hiring of a new head coach normally means the previous staff they had will be replaced almost entirely.

Joseph’s days as a Cardinal is probably coming to a close but the decision to keep him under contract is not doing him any favors considering he cannot pursue any other defensive coordinator openings as a result. This might be far from the case if the next Cardinals’ head coach intends to retain him.

As of now, the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, and the San Francisco 49ers are still in search for their next defensive coordinator. The Carolina Panthers filled their vacancy with the hiring of Ejiro Evero. The Cleveland Browns hired Jim Schwartz and the Miami Dolphins hired Vic Fangio. There are position openings but who knows for how much longer and it is doubtful Joseph will accept a lesser position on another team.

The Cardinals’ current head coach list has been narrowed down to three candidates with second interviews this week which includes Bengals’ defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, Giants’ offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, and Steelers’ linebackers coach Brian Flores.

Lions’ defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn was expected to have a second interview but a date has not been confirmed. Arizona is supposedly interested in Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon but they will not be able to interview him until after the Super Bowl.

So for now, the list shrinks but another name might just be added to the head coach mix if Arizona decides to wait another week.