Cardinals' search for head coach suddenly 'wide open'

Posted Jan. 04, 2013 @ 4:40 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

With Andy Reid getting swept off his feet by the Chiefs after multiple media outlets reported earlier in the week that he was all but locked up to become the Cardinals’ next head coach, we hear Cardinals team president Mike Bidwill appears to be in no great rush to nail down another alternative.

There is enough evidence to suggest that Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, the only coach known to have interviewed for the head-coaching job heading into the weekend, could be considered the front-runner, considering that: (a) Horton’s entire defensive staff remains intact; and (b) he happens to be a very worthy candidate — and not just for the Cardinals’ job, which he has publicly stated he would prefer (Horton had also interviewed with both Buffalo and Cleveland at this writing).

In the court of public opinion, for what it’s worth, “Horton is getting the most attention,” one team insider said. “But a lot of that has to do with the fan base having become familiar with him. He’s always a good sound bite.

“But I really don’t think there is a front-runner right now,” the insider continued. “I think it’s wide open. Bidwill says he’s learning a lot going through this process, and he is being very deliberate. He’s very impressed with Horton, but there are questions about the kind of offense Horton has in mind.”

Bidwill has a weekend interview set up with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who is being wooed by a number of teams. He also had received permission to interview Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator the year the team went to the Super Bowl, but Haley is reportedly very conflicted over leaving the Steelers.

“I know (Bidwill) was anxious to talk to McCoy because of what he’s been able to do with quarterbacks everywhere he’s been,” the insider said. “I could also see him wanting to interview at least two or three candidates from the college ranks, possibly (Oregon head coach) Chip Kelly, among others.

“It might turn out that Ray (Horton) ends up being the best fit. He’s certainly the easiest. But that’s far from a done deal.”