Arizona Cardinals and Bruce Arians Have a Tough Challenge Ahead

Jonathan Cullen@@jcullen71Senior Writer IJanuary 19, 2013

Bidwill and Arians will put their stamp on the Cardinals.
Bidwill and Arians will put their stamp on the Cardinals.Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals made the decision to hire Bruce Arians as their new head coach Thursday, detailed in this tweet by the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and confirmed in a tweet from the Cardinals' official site.

Arians, who was the Indianapolis Colts' offensive coordinator last season, led the Colts to a 9-3 record while coaching the team during the absence of head coach Chuck Pagano due to leukemia.

During Friday's press conference to announce the hiring, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, general manager Steve Keim and new coach Arians all said the right things to the press.

The hiring of Arians had the unfortunate consequence of Ray Horton leaving to become the Cleveland Browns defense coordinator, detailed in this report from Arizona Sports KTAR and first mentioned in this tweet from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

I wrote last night that while Arians was a potentially great hire for the Cards, Horton deserved a far better fate from the organization.

Finally with the change in coaches, it is reasonable to ask if the Cardinals are any better.

Right now, it's hard to tell.

Arians looks to be an upgrade on former coach Ken Whisenhunt, if this is the Whisenhunt of the past three seasons that went 18-30.

It was clear by the end of the season that the Cardinals needed to make a change with Whisenhunt in order to jump start the organization.

Arians comes with his cache of having coached Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger, having won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers and taking the Colts to the playoffs this season.

If Arians can have the initial success that Whisenhunt had in his first three seasons, the Cards will be on to something.

But if Todd Bowles is the eventual replacement for Horton, then whatever gains the Cardinals make offensively could potentially be negated by the defense taking a step back next season. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora tweets that the Cards will talk with Bowles this weekend.

Arians will have three main challenges for next season: find a productive NFL quarterback, make the offense far more consistent and explosive and be competitive in the toughest division in football.

All three challenges will pose huge obstacles for the Cardinals to overcome.

Hopefully, Bruce Arians is up to the task.


Information used from Arizona Sports, ESPN, Pro Football Talk and NFL.