There are some new faces in Arizona. Well sort of.
The departure of Todd Haily and Clancy Pendergast. Which coincidental both ended up in Kansas City. Honestly, it appears that Haily left some big shoes to fill. After all the offense did rank 4th in total points per game, 4th in total yardage per game and 2nd in total passing per game, but the offense did rank dead last in rushing yardage per game. That will need to change.
The defense is another story. The defense ranked 28th in total points allowed, 19th in total yardage allowed, 22nd against the pass and 16th against the run. All numbers that needed a drastic change.
That's exactly what has happened. Hailey took the head coaching job at Kansas City, and Pendergast was let go, and then picked up by Hailey. So the offense has a new face and the defense has a new face.
The offense is a little complicated though. Long time offensive line coach Russ Grimm will be the running game coordinator and Mike Miller will be the passing game coordinator. A little confusing right?
Think about it this way though, it's a constant breathe of fresh air. After all, the speed of the NFL game is intense. Why not split the responsibilities? The only real sign of disaster is egos. I don't consider Grimm to be an ego man, but he did split town with Pittsburgh hired Tomlin over him? Could that be a lingering factor?
As for Mike Miller, he was promoted from being the wide receivers coach, to the passing game coordinator. Again, this could be interesting for the better. After all if Miller was the receiving coach, then he did one heck of a job last season. Having the best one-two punch in the entire league.
This could be for the best. Having two guys share the duties, they will have to have precise game plans. They will have to be consistent at the least, they need to be able to control every tempo of the game if they want to have a successful offensive season. That's going to be easy to do as far as the passing game goes. As for the running, that will be Grimms main priority to get his line ready, and then to be able to call good running plays. Will they be up to it? We'll have to wait and see.
As for the defense. Bill Davis is the new defensive coordinator, promoted from being the linebackers coach. He started his NFL coaching career as defenisve assistant for the Pittsburgh Steelers under Bill Cowher. Are you beginning to see the trend of the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff? He spent the previous two season before that as the 49er's defensive coordinator.
He will need to step up his coaching style, to make it more aggressive. Let's face it, the defense last year was more of a read and react type defense, when the defensive unit is athletic to run a Rex Ryan type of attack. See the opposite guy, run at him and hit him as hard as you can.
The defense will need to be a lot more aggressive. They have the athleticism to be an attack style defense. Look for more sacks, more interceptions and more tackles for loss. Davis should be able to get more out of the defense, but the positive side of it is this. They have no where to go but up. The defense can't get any worse.
If they come out playing the way they played in the playoffs, they will without a doubt make a huge turn around and win more games.
Matt Raich will assume the linebackers coaching position. Raich started out his coaching career as an offensive assistant under Ken Whisenhunt when Whisenhunt was in Pittsburgh. When Whisenhunt took the head coaching position for Arizona, Raich followed and switched back over to defense where he was more familiar.
Raich was a stand out linebacker at Westminster College. He knows the position, and after being under the tutelage of Davis, he should be able to get just as much if not more production out of the linebackers.
There is a lot to be excited about this upcoming season in Arizona. With the new faces, kind of, the offense and defense should both be better. The younger players are starting to bloom, and the veterans are still a solid rock on both sides of the ball. Look for the Cardinals to be a better orchestrated team in 2009.