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Cardinals Officially Name Nick Rallis, Drew Petzing As New Coordinators

Rodgers retained as special teams coordinator and assistant head coach

The Cardinals have named Nick Rallis (left) the defensive coordinator and Drew Petzing (right) as the offensive coordinator.
The Cardinals have named Nick Rallis (left) the defensive coordinator and Drew Petzing (right) as the offensive coordinator.

If football is a young man's game, Jonathan Gannon is making sure his coaching staff braintrust is a reflection of that.

The Cardinals officially announced on Tuesday the hires of 35-year-old Drew Petzing as their offensive coordinator and 29-year-old Nick Rallis as their defensive coordinator for the 40-year-old Gannon.

Gannon is keeping special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Jeff Rodgers on staff as well, with Rodgers at 44 the elder statesman of the group.

Petzing had been the Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach. Rallis was the Eagles linebackers coach. Petzing and Rallis worked together on the Minnesota Vikings staff in 2018 and 2019.

"High capacity, high character," Gannon said of his two new hires. "Great teachers, great people. They relate to players. They are all about developing and maximizing the players."

Those are the only official announcements as of now, although reports have former Colts tight ends coach Klayton Adams the likely offensive line coach and Commanders wide receivers coach Drew Terrell – who attended high school at Chandler Hamilton – potentially becoming passing game coordinator.

The news of Petzing and Rallis broke over the weekend. Petzing was not a surprise, having been linked to Gannon as probable OC before Gannon even interviewed with the Cardinals. That wasn't the case with Rallis, who will be the youngest coordinator in the NFL.

Gannon's process of hiring his staff will run up to next week's Scouting combine in Indianapolis, although Gannon said he was "almost done" and was looking forward to his first staff meeting.

"Just excited to go to work," Gannon said. "We want to get going."

Petzing broke into NFL coaching in 2013 as a Browns intern. He held various positions on the Vikings' offensive staff from 2014-2019 finishing as wide receivers coach, and then went to the Browns first as a tight ends coach and then the quarterbacks coach.

"Anytime you get a chance to run an offense and be a part of an organization like the Arizona Cardinals, you jump at that opportunity," Petzing said. "My relationship with Jonathan and my belief in him as a coach it is a big draw."

Petzing's top job will be working with Kyler Murray and getting the quarterback to return to a Pro Bowl level and beyond.

"What he's put on tape speaks for itself," Petzing said. "When you go to interview for the job, you dig a little deeper -- you try to identify the processing speed, what offense he's been in, what his strengths are, what are his weaknesses. But I think a large portion is getting to know him, because the communication is going to be really important."

Rallis, a college teammate at the University of Minnesota of Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams, got into NFL coach with the Vikings in 2018 and was assistant linebackers coach in 2020. In 2021, he joined Gannon's defensive staff in Philadelphia as linebackers coach.

"I learned under Mike Zimmer in Minnesota and under JG in Philadelphia," Rallis said. "Without even realizing it, you're soaking that information in and it starts to prep you for this job now."

Rallis said he would, in his downtime over the years, ready himself for the day he'd become a coordinator so "I'm prepared for this transition, to be 100 percent honest."

As for what is in front of him on the defense, Rallis promised the physicality Gannon had brought up, and also that it would depend on the personnel.

"You never want to copy-paste whatever you have done," Rallis said. "We are not going to say, 'This is what we did in 2022 with the Philadelphia Eagles and it's going to have success here.' No. We have to become the 2023 Arizona Cardinals defense."