Arizona is where Darrell Bevell is from, where he went to high school, where his family still lives.
He may have become a Rose Bowl-winning quarterback at Wisconsin, may have built his NFL coaching career in Green Bay, Minnesota and Seattle, but the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator – in Tempe Wednesday interviewing for the Cards’ vacant head coaching job – but Arizona still holds an allure.
“To be able to get a call from the Cardinals is something you kind of dream about as a little kid,” said Bevell, who turned 43 earlier this month. “I know they weren’t here when I was growing up but it’s still my hometown and it’s still a team you kind of watch.”
Bevell, who graduated from Scottsdale’s Chaparral High School within weeks of the franchise moving from St. Louis in 1988, has coached quarterbacks or coordinated offenses in the NFL since arriving in Green Bay in 2000. There, he coached Brett Favre. He also coached Favre in Minnesota a few years later during his stint with the Vikings, and helped transform Seattle’s offense this season with rookie Russell Wilson.
Between the shocking advancement of Wilson this season ahead of veteran Matt Flynn and seeing some of the Favre drama up close, Bevell acknowledged in the quarterback realm “I’ve definitely been schooled in that.”
That would seem to help if he were to attack the Cardinals’ muddied quarterback situation.
“I truly believe that so goes the quarterback, so goes your team,” Bevell said. “The Cardinals need to take a look at that position and figure out what’s best for them.”
Bevell used Wilson has his example. The Seahawks “loved his intagibles, loved how he played the game,” but the team was careful to draw up an offense that worked for Wilson at every stage. The offense for Wilson that played the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium to open the season, Bevell said, evolved by the time the Seahawks played the Falcons in the playoffs last weekend.
Bevell’s knowledge of the NFC West – he has been in Seattle two seasons – would help his fit with the Cardinals, he believes, as has his work in the NFC his entire pro career.
The Cardinals are expected to bring in Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians for an interview at some point, although the team has yet to announce any meeting or even confirm interest in Arians. Known available candidates are Bevell, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Bevell was reportedly a finalist for the Chicago Bears job that was filled Wednesday by the hiring of one-time Cardinals offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. The Bears interview was Bevell’s first for a head coaching job. Bevell reportedly is supposed to also be interviewed by Jacksonville, but he said at this point he has no other interviews scheduled.
Bevell’s father, Jim, was a long-time high school coach. Bevell said he felt he was ready too to be a head coach, although obviously on a much higher level of the sport.
“Somebody is going to have to take a chance, but I’m really excited about it,” Bevell said.