Ray Horton was prepared, just like he always was.
His official interview with the Cardinals for their vacant head coaching job went well, he said, as he met with president Michael Bidwill, vice president of player personnel Steve Keim and director of player personnel Jason Licht. Sandwiched in between an interview with the Cleveland Browns Tuesday night and the Buffalo Bills Wednesday night for their head coaching vacancies, Horton’s time as Cardinals’ defensive coordinator seems to be coming to an end.
Horton believes that he will be a head coach somewhere in 2013. He doesn’t see why he wouldn’t believe anything else.
“The other owners, they have to make the decision that is best for their team,” Horton said. “But I feel very confident. I think I interview well, I’m knowledgeable, I can put together a great team. I am very optimistic. If you’re not, you’re probably not an NFL coach.”
Whether it will be in Arizona – the team he knows the best, and the team that knows him the best – remains unknown. Bidwill is scheduled to meet with former Eagles coach Andy Reid this week, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy this weekend and could still look into other candidates. It is unlikely any offer will be coming to anyone before then.
But Horton laid out his plans to Bidwill during a give-and-take talk, Horton said, covering everything from players and coaches to potential remodeling of the Cardinals’ Tempe facility and the type of grass used on the practice fields.
At one point, Horton said, Bidwill even asked Horton how he thought Bidwill could be a better owner.
“We just had a very honest, open discussion how to get back to being a championship team,” Horton said.
Despite his success in running the Cardinals defense, he said the defensive coordinator he will hire will have control of that side of the ball. He will be there to help, he said, but he won’t get in the way.
“I am a big believer in delegating,” Horton said. “You hire great people and let them do it. Whoever it will be, the guy will have my blessing and I’m sure we will be a 3-4 and continue to run the same defense, the same terminology. There shouldn’t be any lag, because they will use the same words I use that they will have to play with, and how we do things, and I’m sure there will be different ideas and that’s OK.
“I will be hands-on in the fact that I am there, but I won’t be the guy doing everything.”
Horton said he’s got ideas about everything. He believes quarterback
But Horton emphasized he has ideas for everything, down to how the team will eat and when they will practice.
“I’m not saying it will be better or not,” Horton said. “Just different. You have ideas and you ask and bounce ideas off Steve Keim and Jason Licht and Michael and see ‘Is this the best thing?’ ”
Horton understands there is a waiting game involved, not just with the Cardinals but with all his opportunities. He’d like to become the Cards’ head coach, but knows there are other candidates. All he can do is go into the interviews – he also had one last offseason with the Rams – and explain who he would be if he became head coach.
“It’s your philosophy on football,” Horton said. “There shouldn’t be a bunch of surprises. No one should ask me a question where I say, “I don’t know how I’d do that.’ The answer is how you would do it. My ideas are probably different than other people because I am a different person.”