There was praise Monday for Steve Wilks when it came his work ethic and energy, but Michael Bidwill was blunt when addressing his now-former coach and the upcoming search to find a new coach for the Cardinals.
“When I look back at last year, I didn’t get it right,” Bidwill said. “I take responsibility and we’re going to make sure we get it right this time around.”
The work to find Wilks’ replacement is underway. Bidwill said formal requests to teams to ask for permission to talk to assistants was coming Monday afternoon, and that the Cardinals had already informally reached out to a couple of coaches not currently in the game.
With seven head coaching vacancies other than the Cardinals, Bidwill emphasized multiple times he wanted to keep much conversation about the potential candidates “a little closer to our vest.”
“It’s a competitive process,” Bidwill said. “We want to make sure we get the best coach to take us into the future and take us where we should be.
“We feel like we are the most attractive opportunity out there.”
As proof, Bidwill noted a young franchise quarterback in Josh Rosen, a “nucleus of talent,” the top pick in the draft as well as every round, the first spot in waiver claims, and cap space, which is estimated to be around $65 million or so.
Bidwill declined to get into what kind of coach the Cardinals are looking for specifically. He also declined to name any sort of timeline the Cardinals were on to get a coach, saying only the Cardinals want to get the best hire. The past two Cardinals’ hires – Wilks and Bruce Arians – were the last coaches hired in the cycle.
There were reports Monday that the Cardinals had reached out to ask permission to talk to Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, Saints tight ends coach/assistant head coach Dan Campbell and Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor.
The Cardinals have not yet addressed the status of any of the assistant coaches. And change is possible on the football side beyond the coaching staff.
“We are all held accountable,” General Manager Steve Keim said. “There are certain areas I have to look at with football operations and areas where we can make improvements. But when we look back at the season and the disappointment it was, we all felt it was unacceptable.”
Keim acknowledged that to think of himself as the GM with the No. 1 pick in the draft was “embarrassing as hell.”
“But I promise you in April we’re not going to feel that way,” Keim added, noting that besides the good draft position, the Cardinals hope to add another two or three compensatory picks to their draft capital.
Bidwill said the entire season has been frustrating. Unwilling to go with the plan Wilks had provided for 2019, Bidwill and Keim understand the importance of their newest coaching hire.
“I’ve been extremely frustrated,” Bidwill said. “I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights, looked in the mirror to think what I could be doing differently to make this organization better.”