NFL

NFL AM: Bruce Arians Says Cardinals’ Job Is His Last

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Bruce Arians Cardinals job is his last:

It’s amazing to think Bruce Arians almost never got his shot to be an NFL head coach. If not for Chuck Pagano’s battle with cancer, we might never have known that Arians is among the best coaches in all of the NFL.

Despite his success in Arizona, the Cardinals’ head man told Arizona Kent Summers of Arizona Republic that if/when Arizona moves on, he’ll be finished with coaching, stressing when asked that, “this will be my last job.”

“You never know how long this will last,” said Arians. “There’s the old saying, there’s two kinds of coaches, ones that are fired and others who are going to get fired. You just enjoy every day. Right now, it’s the highlight of it. There will be lowlights, we know that. But I’m enjoying every single day. This will be my last job.”

The Cardinals head coaching gig might be his last, but that doesn’t mean the 63-year-old head man is near the end of his run. Arizona is one of the best teams in football, and the combination of Arians and general manager Steve Keim is as good of a combo as you’ll find in the game. Quietly, Keim has turned into one of the best GMs in the game, and his head coach has done exactly the same.

The Cardinals will once again be one of the favorites to represent the NFC at Super Bowl 51, and Arians is a big part of the reason why. Another of Arians’ comments to Summers shows exactly how detail oriented the Cardinals head coach is, and why the Cardinals rarely look unprepared.

“Start completely over,” Arians said about how he approaches a new season with a veteran group. “With how to get in the huddle, what our snap count is. We open the playbook on page one and we go back through the whole thing.”

Arians may not be thinking about what’s next when it comes to his future after the Cardinals, and it’s probably a wise thing because the way things are going in Arizona, he probably isn’t going anywhere soon, and that’s a good thing for all of us. Well, maybe all of us with the exception of San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams fans!

Rod Marinelli loves the Cowboys pick of Ezekiel Elliot:

During the draft we often hear about position coaches and coordinators, “pounding on the table,” for their guys. Every coordinator wants a new toy on their side of the ball each time it’s time for their team to make a selection.

However, despite obviously being happy about the opportunity to add depth to a defensive unit that needs a lot of help, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli says he’s elated with the team’s drafting of Ezekiel Elliot.

“I’m elated because I think you always look at the big picture, Marinelli said during the draft show on 105.3 The Fan via the Dallas Morning News. “We don’t play fantasy football. It’s not that. A one-yard, two-yard run there’s fight and physicalness. That’s good for your team. It develops toughness. We have to go against that offense every day. We play our offense more than anybody. It develops a hardness to your defense. You’ve got to play against a great line, a great back, now you’ve got to match up on an All-Pro receiver, great quarterback. … It’s the physical nature of the game, which at times is being lost in today’s football. The physical nature of the game, I believe in that. This young man and the other backs are going to bring that.”

Anyone who’s been at an NFL practice knows that they are anything but physical, but if Marinelli thinks Elliot can help in that department, it says a lot about the lack of physicality the Cowboys have had.

However, whatever level of physicality or intensity Elliot can add to Cowboys practice, it won’t be the biggest impact he’ll have on his teammates on the other side of the ball. Two years ago the Cowboys’ defense was/looked much better than it did a year ago. However, that defense was helped out large part by the fact that the team was running the ball so well with DeMarco Murray.

Sometimes the best defense is a strong running game which can keep that defense and its warts off the football field. Elliot’s ability on the ground and ability to extend drives and keep the suspect Cowboys’ defense off the field will be his greatest impact on the defense.

While there’s no question that all of Dallas’ hopes ride on whether or not Tony Romo can stay healthy, the rushing attack’s ability to make the defense look better than they are by keeping them on the sideline may be the difference between if the Cowboys are average or among the NFC’s best teams.

Rookies begin signing with their new teams:

Outside of the obvious of not paying unproven rookies more than any veteran on your team, perhaps the greatest benefit of the new rookie wage scale is the fact that first-round draft picks holding out is pretty much a thing of the past.

Adopting a system similar to what the NBA has used for years, the NFL went to a slotted rookie wage scale in 2011. A year after Sam Bradford received over $50 million guaranteed, those ridiculous rookie contracts were gone forever.

There was likely nothing more frustrating for NFL clubs before the change than drafting a kid in the first round only to have trouble signing him. When rookie holdouts would miss training camp due to having trouble coming to common ground on a contract, it set the player back and it set the team back. Teams couldn’t rely on rookies to make a major impact if they couldn’t be sure he’s be in camp, and that could be as damaging as guaranteeing some rook a ridiculous sum of money.

Since the change in 2011, there really isn’t much room for negotiations, and outside of not getting filthy rich, this change has been beneficial for both sides because rookies can get their contracts out of the way, and get to work.

Wednesday Atlanta Falcons first-round pick Keanu Neal became the first first-round pick to sign a new deal. Before the slotted scale was put in place, this would likely not have happened, as players often waited for the players just before them to sign and set the market. Fortunately, there’s no room for that nonsense anymore.

The Indianapolis Colts Ryan Kelly was right behind Neal to sign his new contract on Wednesday. Without the rookie scale in place it’s possible Kelly would have waited for the market to be set, or even that his agent would have suggested he hold out for a better deal. A center needs as much work with his quarterback as possible, and an extended holdout could have really hurt Kelly’s ability to contribute in 2016.

Of course these are just hypotheticals, but they’re hypotheticals that NFL teams no longer have to worry about, and that’s a great thing for football.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.