Big Red Blog: Bruce Arians headed to Arizona

After searching for nearly three weeks, the Arizona Cardinals named Bruce Arians as the team's new head coach, but it came at a cost.

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Bruce Arians headed to Arizona

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, January 18th - 9:30 AM

After searching for nearly three weeks, the Arizona Cardinals finally found a new head coach. Former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is headed to the desert, with hopes of turning around a team that's been wildly inconsistent over the last three years – particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Arians made headlines this year, taking over as the Colts interim head coach after Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this season. As interim coach, Arians proceeded to lead Indianapolis to a 9-3 record and helped the team earn a wild card berth. In total, Arians has been in the profession for 37 years, including five as a head coach with Temple from 1983-1988.

Before joining Pagano and the Colts for the 2012 campaign, Arians was the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Arians, in fact, replaced former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt as the Steelers offensive coordinator when he left to take the Cardinals job in 2007. While one could be concerned about the similarities between the two, Arians vowed to bring a much different offensive system to Arizona.

In an unfortunate turn of events, the hiring of Arians is expected to cause the departure of defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Although nothing has been confirmed, Horton reportedly had a heated exchange with general manager Steve Keim and won't be retained on Arians' staff. Todd Bowles, who won't be part of Chip Kelly's new staff with the Philadelphia Eagles, has been rumored as a replacement.

Horton interviewed twice for the Cardinals head coaching position and was the front runner to get the job after Arizona whiffed on landing Andy Reid and Mike McCoy. Team president Michael Bidwill, however, continued his search moving on to names such as Darrell Bevell and eventually met and offered the job to Arians.

While the loss of Horton might not be a truly crushing blow, it could end up being a significant loss. Horton is well respected in the coaching world and appears to have a future as an NFL head coach. Arizona will now be forced to enter the 2013 not only with a new head coach, but with new coordinators on both sides of the ball.

It also remains to be seen how the Cardinals' defensive players react to Horton's departure. The team's defense had made great strides under Horton and was clearly the strength of the team during the past season. The players had fully bought into Horton's system but now they'll be forced to work under a new defensive coordinator with a new defensive scheme.

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