Horton makes his case for Cardinals job
JAN 02, 2013 12:52p ET
He’s smart, he’s articulate, he’s funny and he’s accessible.
OK, let’s move on to the reasons Horton actually could be hired as the Cardinals’ next head coach — none of which were outlined above.
While the unsubstantiated reports of Andy Reid's all-but-certain hiring by the Cardinals continued making the rounds, Horton had a chance to sell his wares to team president Michael Bidwill, vice president of player personnel Steve Keim and director of player of personnel Jason Licht. Horton met with the trio for three-plus hours on Wednesday morning at the team’s facility, and the range of topics was broad.
“We covered everything from personnel to the physical structure of the building to expansion of the building, expansion of the roster, how to change things going forward, how to self-evaluate the coaching, the process and him,” Horton said, referring to Bidwill. “He asked me my impressions of how he could be a better owner. We discussed about every topic you could — draft structure, how it works, who picks, who does what.”
As has been reported, Horton is one of three known candidates for the job — along with Reid, who could interview here as soon as Thursday, and Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, whom the Cardinals are expected to interview this weekend in Denver.
Horton’s obvious advantage is that he already knows Arizona’s personnel, having served as the club’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons. He also said Wednesday that the Cardinals are his first choice because he likes the organizational structure and the fan base.
Horton wasn’t ready to divulge what changes he would make to the Cardinals' moribund offense.
“Not yet, because I don’t want somebody else to take my ideas and use them,” he said.
But Horton, who interviewed with Cleveland on Tuesday and was to talk with Buffalo later Wednesday, did offer his thoughts on a variety of topics. Here’s a sampling:
On what he wanted Bidwill to know: “In a nutshell, just the passion that I have for this job.”
On what the offense needs: “It has to be different than it was. We talked about improving everything. Defensively, we’ve got to improve that, too. It’s not like (the offense is) just the sisters of the poor. We talked about getting better play from the quarterback and the offensive line and being open and honest about what we have to fix and how can we fix it. You can’t just say we’re going to get 22 new offensive players. You can’t do that.”
On quarterback Kevin Kolb: “Kevin went through a lot of issues with being the starter, not being the starter, being the guy, not being the guy. We were 4-0 with Kevin, and we can win with Kevin, and we did win with Kevin. He’s got the tools. We talked about a model of just giving him the backing going forward.”
On if he worries about being pigeon-holed as a defensive mind: “I don’t. I think I’m a coach of men. I talk about a plan to build a team. I don’t talk about ‘Hey, I can build this offense or this defense and good luck with the rest of the team.’ Whether you’re an offensive coach, you’ve got to have a defensive guy who can do something on that side. It all blends together. I think that’s a zero issue.”
On whether he would still call the defense as a head coach: “Nope. I delegate. I think a guy that controls everything, controls nothing. I would be there to assist and help if needed, but I trust the coaches I hire to be experts at their positions. Now am I going to get 11, 15, 22 experts who are going to be experts at every position? Probably not. But the two coordinators are going to be experts. Really, in my power structure, that’s how it works. Your head coach and two coordinators have to be experts at their position. It’s a trickle-down effect of getting this guy to do this and ‘Hey, coach this way and do that.’ There’s a hierarchy of critical positions. The quality control is not the most critical position on the staff.”
On his learning curve as a coach: “One of the best things I’ve learned is to take good things from great people that you learned (under). But I think so few (people), when they are around bad influences and bad examples, they don’t take it away. They don’t go, ‘Wow, that’s a bad thing. I’m never doing that.’ They miss valuable lessons on how not to do something.
“I think I’ve taken the good and incorporated it into me and learned from the bad: ‘I’m never going to make that mistake. I’m never going to do that.’ So you’re ahead of the game because you’ve learned things that hurt you, that kill you, that break morale. And I think a lot of people miss that very important point.”
On if he’s confident the interviews he’s getting are not just a product of the Rooney Rule: “Oh, no question, no question. I think my background and the way the players have performed for me speaks for itself. I’ve been to five Super Bowls and been on No. 1 defenses and guys out here responded to me very well. So if you’re asking me do I think I’m going to be a head coach this year, I’ll say yes.
“I think the rule gives you an opportunity to expose yourself to somebody. Like I said, change is good and it exposes you to different ideas, which you are able to express to people.”
On his schedule after interviewing with Cleveland on Tuesday and the Cards on Wednesday: “I’ve got an interview with Buffalo this afternoon (Wednesday), and that’s the last one on the book. I’ve heard rumors, not substantiated by me, that Kansas City and San Diego are interested. I don’t know that because I haven’t talked to my agent today.”
On if he’d be content remaining a defensive coordinator if the Cards bring someone else in for the job and he doesn’t get another head coaching job: “I’ve never thought that way. I don’t think that way. I’ve never posed the question to myself. Those things come around the corner and I’m always ‘the glass is overflowing-full.’ I’m excited about the opportunity here and the fantastic interview I had with Cleveland last night and going to try to knock Buffalo’s socks off.”
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