Just hours after Ken Whisenhunt was fired Monday, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill announced the names of three of potential replacements.
Bidwill plans on interviewing defensive coordinator Ray Horton in the next few days. He’s also received permission to speak with Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and has reached out to former Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, who was fired late Sunday.
Bidwill declined to offer any other names at this point. He did say he was looking at both NFL and college coaches.
While Bidwill feels a sense of urgency to fill the position, he plans on going about the hiring process methodically, he said. However, Bidwill understands that Horton and Vice President of Player Personnel Steve Keim, who is an internal candidate to replace Rod Graves, who was also fired Monday, will likely interview with other teams.
“It’s not going to move at lightning speed,” Bidwill said. “You don’t want it to because you learn a lot during your due diligence period. That started today. So I’m looking forward to getting involved in that and jumping into that process and getting moving forward on it right away.”
Position: Defensive Coordinator
Team: Arizona Cardinals
NFL Experience: 18 overall, 2 as defensive coordinator
Status: Season ended Sunday
Horton flew under the radar during last year’s hiring season but after fully implementing his 3-4 defense, he’ll be among the league’s hottest commodities this offseason. In just two seasons with the Cardinals, Horton has them ranked in the Top 10 in seven different categories and in the Top 13 in five others.
Opposing coaches consistently praise Horton’s unit for its ability to swarm quarterbacks, push back the pocket and disguise its coverage. And he’s also been the mastermind behind a secondary that finished second in the league with 22 interceptions.
Horton has been a coach since 1994, most recently as the defensive backs coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004-10. He has a winning pedigree, having coached in three Super Bowls with the Steelers and played in two. He has three Super Bowl rings.
Horton is expected to interview for the head coaching jobs in Cleveland and Buffalo. He interviewed with the Rams for their job last offseason.
Position: Offensive coordinator
Team: Denver Broncos
NFL Experience: 13 overall, 4 as offensive coordinator
Status: Broncos earned bye in AFC playoffs
McCoy may be best known for his recent success directing two vastly different quarterbacks in two entirely different systems.
He has been the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator since 2009 and last year McCoy reworked his scheme to fit Tim Tebow’s running ability. The Broncos led the league is rushing last season and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs. This year, with Peyton Manning at the helm, McCoy again adjusted the Broncos’ offense to fit Manning and it led Denver to a 13-3 record and the AFC’s top seed in the upcoming playoffs. McCoy has earned respect around the league because of his ability to modify his offense around his personnel.
McCoy was an assistant with the Carolina Panthers for nine years. He was the quarterback coach in 2004 when the Panthers lost to New England in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
The Chicago Bears have also requested permission to interview McCoy.
Position: Head coach
Team: Formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles
NFL Experience: 20 overall, 14 as head coach
Status: Fired on Sunday
Reid is fresh in the minds of fans for his quick fall from grace in Philadelphia during the last couple of years but he was the mastermind of restoring football to the City of Brotherly Love.
He led the Eagles to four straight NFC championship games and the 2004 Super Bowl, a 24-21 loss to New England. Reid owns the franchise record for wins with 140, won seven division titles and added another NFC championship game appearance to his resume.
Reid accomplished most of his success with Donovan McNabb, who the Eagles drafted in 1999. He won 10 or more games in eight of his 14 seasons with the Eagles running a version of the West Coast offense but hasn’t had one since 2010.
Reid has also become known for his coaching tree, in which he’s developed nine NFL head coaches including John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera and Leslie Frazier.
Reid has not yet been connected to any other job openings.