Cardinals’ Arians, Bowles honored as 2014’s top coaches

Bruce Arians and former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles have led the Cardinals to 21 regular-season wins over the past two years.

The Arizona Cardinals coaching staff snagged a pair of major honors from the Pro Football Writers of America on Thursday, with Bruce Arians voted as the NFL Coach of the Year and former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles selected as Assistant Coach of the Year.

Arians, in his second-year at the helm, pushed almost all the right buttons for an injury-ravaged Cardinals team, leading it to an 11-5 record and first playoff berth since 2009. The 11 victories tied a franchise record, and the team appeared destined for even greater heights with a 9-1 record when starting quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a season-ending knee injury. In all, the Cardinals lost 109 games due to injuries suffered by 21 different players.

Much of the team’s success was dependent on Bowles’ defense, which ranked fifth in the league in fewest points allowed (18.7 per game) while overcoming many significant personnel losses. Bowles’ tenure with the Cardinals ended Wednesday when he was hired as head coach of the New York Jets.

The PFWA’s Executive of the Year is Dallas Cowboys owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones.

Arians is the Cardinals’ first Coach of the Year since Don Coryell in 1974. Bowles is the first Assistant Coach of the Year for the franchise since the award began in 1993.