Denver Broncos Elimination Should Resolve Arizona Cardinals Coaching Search

Jonathan CullenSenior Writer IJanuary 14, 2013

Is McCoy the Cards first choice for head coach?
Is McCoy the Cards first choice for head coach?Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

After the Denver Broncos' stunning 38-35 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, one of my first thoughts was how this might impact the Arizona Cardinals' coaching search.

Denver expected to be hosting the AFC Championship Game next Sunday, meaning Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was likely going to be tied up for another one to three weeks.

Now with the unexpected loss, Arizona might be able to take the next step with its coaching search.'s Ian Rapoport is expecting the Cards to make a very heavy push for McCoy, mentioned in this article by's Marc Sessler.

If McCoy is the guy the Cards want, they'll need to act quickly. This tweet from the San Diego Union Tribune's Kevin Acee says that the San Diego Chargers are going to talk to McCoy on Monday.

As time goes by, the longer the Cards haven't named Ray Horton as their new head coach, the more likely it seems if they aren't quite sold on making their dynamic defensive coordinator their next leader.

The fact that the Cards have struggled on offense and at the quarterback position so badly the past two seasons might be the reason they are reluctant to hire a defensive-minded head coach.


That sentiment is also why the team has talked with Todd Haley, according to this tweet from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette's Ed Bouchette, and Jay Gruden, as detailed in this report from Darren Urban at

Arizona also had interest in talking with Andy Reid before he was hired by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Another factor might have been the Cards being underwhelmed by the rumored coordinators that Horton was planning on bringing in—Kirby Wilson for offense and Lou Spanos for defense—according to this tweet from Mike Juecki at XTRA 910 in Phoenix.

This article from Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio mentions that Horton is expecting to know his fate by Tuesday.

The general feeling at this point might be that Horton may not get a head coaching position this winter and the Cards might be able to hold on to him for another season, something that seemed unlikely even two weeks ago.

If the Cards feel they can realistically pair McCoy and Horton together for a season, that might be viewed as the best-case scenario for the team.

Ownership might have simply felt the risk of hiring Horton would have weakened the Cards on both sides of the ball next season.

They probably wanted to have newly promoted general manager Steve Keim make the final decision on the hire as well—especially after parting with former head coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves.

Whatever the reason for the slow pace of the search, Arizona needed to make sure that it hires the right person without appearing to settle for its second or third choice.

With the Broncos' surprising elimination, now is the time for the Cardinals to make their move.


Game recap from ESPN

Information used from Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports 620, Pro Football Talk,, AZCardinals.