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The Cardinals met with Arians Thursday and both sides reportedly wanted to get the deal done. And they did. ...
Arians will replace Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired earlier this month.
After being named the offensive coordinator of the Colts last offseason, Arians spent most of the season as the interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was out being treated for leukemia. Arians did an excellent job. The Colts went 9-3 under his guidance and he may receive the NFL’s coach of the year award.
Indy was the No. 10 total offense with rookies starting at quarterback, running back, tight end, playing a major role at receiver and a banged up offensive line.
But is he really ready for this?
Arians’ only previous stint as a head coach was at Temple from 1983-88. He was fired after posting winning records in two of his six seasons.
Still, as Profootballtalk.com's Michael David Smith noted, Arians will take over as head coach of another team -- one that can use his offensive acumen.
Arians told reporters prior to being hired that his offensive philosophy is to stress “situation football” -- converting on third downs, scoring touchdowns in the red zone and being productive in the two-minute drills.
Arians also said he would call plays “until I can find someone who is going to do it better than me. I haven’t found him yet.”
According to Arizona Republic beat writer Kent Somers, Arians’ resume seems to fit the Cardinals’ desires. At his past two jobs as coordinator, he successfully worked with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Colts rookie Andrew Luck.
The Steelers didn’t renew Arians’ contract after the 2011 season, reportedly because management wanted someone who would be tougher on Roethlisberger.
Unfortunately, as NFL.com's Kareem Copeland kindly suggested, "There's not much quarterback talent to mold in Arizona."
Obviously, developing, or finding, a quarterback is the Cardinals’ priority for the off-season.
“I’ve gone through this so many different times at different places,” said Arians. “I think guys can improve, guys can be coached to be better. There’s a door number two somewhere. Is that a better option for our organization? We would make that decision.”
It had better be a good one because “as a head coach or offensive coordinator, you’re tied to that guy,” Arians said.
Arians did give us a glimpse into his thought process when it comes to offense. He was asked to describe the difference between his system and that of his predecessor. Remember, Whisenhunt was the Steelers' offensive coordinator when Arians was quarterbacks coach.
"Coach [Bill] Cowher had five or six offensive coordinators, and that (play) book had got big because he wasn't going to learn any new terminology," Arians said. "When Kenny and the guys came out here, Ben and I got together and we rewrote the playbook and put it back into Cleveland terms, which I learned from Tom Moore, who forgot more football than I know.
"I thought it was the simplest way to teach young wide receivers and quarterbacks pictures of how to line up. When a quarterback calls a play, he's got to see a picture. To help him rewrite that, with Ben, rename some patterns to where they made sense to him. I think that's the quarterback-coach trust relationship that has to be developed. As a head coach or an offensive coordinator, you're tied to that guy. Your future is him.
"I like new ideas. Randy Fichtner came in from the University of Memphis and he had all these college screens. I just couldn't wait to put all that stuff in. So we veered off into a different direction. Similar in some (ways). There are still core values that are the same. Some things are called the same, but other things are totally different."
As Copeland summed up, "Sounds like the fine folks in Arizona want to make sure they aren't getting Whisenhunt Part 2."
Meanwhile, it's worth noting that Arizonasports.com reported that Arians would not want to retain defensive coordinator Ray Horton. On Thursday, Arians said it was premature to discuss the makeup of a coaching staff.
“Guys are under contract,” he said. “You can’t really comment on staff members at this time.”
But he will undoubtedly be commenting soon. ... Stay tuned. I'll have more on the staff Arians assembles in the News & Views section of the site in coming days.