Friday, January 6, 2012
XTRA910 audio: Coaching changes, etc.
By Mike Sando
Passing along: an audio link from my Friday conversation with Dan Bickley and Mike Jurecki of XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix.
Among the subjects we discussed:
- Ray Horton and the Rams: The Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator did interview for the Rams' head coaching job Friday. The Rams confirmed it to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. My money would be on Jeff Fisher taking the job next week. It's unlikely, in my view, that the Rams would hire a first-year, first-time coordinator to replace Steve Spagnuolo.
- Divisional competition: San Francisco ran away with the NFC West this season, but contentious late-season games between the 49ers, Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks made the division feel highly competitive. The division produced two 1,200-yard rushers and two others with at least 1,000 yards. There were two top-10 defenses (measured by yards and points allowed). Hard-hitting safeties made their mark.
- Josh McDaniels' future. The Rams' in-limbo offensive coordinator would appear much smarter and adept as a play caller if he landed with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. One thing we did not discuss was Sam Bradford's affinity for McDaniels' system. And if the Rams do hire Fisher, a defensive-minded head coach, they would become vulnerable to continuity issues if their offensive coordinator fared well enough to land a head coaching job elsewhere. That was never a big problem for Fisher in Tennessee, however. Les Steckel, Mike Heimerdinger (twice) and Norm Chow were his coordinators. Bradford was fired up about working with McDaniels. How might he feel about running an offense similar in philosophy to the ones Fisher's teams ran in Tennessee?
- Todd Haley's status: The Cardinals' former offensive coordinator could return to the role after three seasons coaching the Kansas City Chiefs. The direct, sometimes highly charged connection Haley achieved with some players on the team, notably Larry Fitzgerald, distinguished his Arizona tenure. Adding Haley could come at the expense of quarterbacks coach Chris Miller, according to Jurecki. Miller had little to work with in 2010. Kevin Kolb's struggles in 2011 stood as a disappointment.
- Larry Fitzgerald's greatness: It was tough to envision any receiver living up to the contract Fitzgerald signed in August. I think Fitzgerald is pulling it off, not just through his production but by what he represents on the field.
Enjoy your Friday. I'm home this weekend before heading to San Francisco to spend much of next week with the 49ers.