After a disappointing 2010 season which saw the Arizona Cardinals defense rank among the league’s worst, the franchise fired first year coordinator Bill Davis last Thursday. There have been rumors of multiple candidates, including two who interviewed for the job last off season.
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was in Arizona on Tuesday interviewing for the opening, before heading to Dallas Wednesday to speak with Jason Garrett about the same position. After spending 12 seasons as a linebacker in the NFL, Manusky spent six seasons as a linebackers coach in Washington, and San Diego before being named San Francisco’s defensive coordinator in 2007. His unit ranked among the middle of the pack in 2010.
The next candidate mentioned is former Cards secondary coach Teryl Austin, who spent 2010 as the defensive coordinator for the University of Florida, after losing a narrow race with Davis for the Cardinals position last off season. Along with being rumored as a candidate for the Arizona job, it’s also believed Austin is a candidate for the same position for the Texas Longhorns. In addition to coaching the Arizona secondary during their 2008 Super Bowl run, Austin also coached the Seattle Seahawks secondary during their Super Bowl run.
Both of those Super Bowls would be won by the Pittsburgh Steelers however, where we find linebacker coach Keith Butler, who was brought in for an interview by Cards head coach Ken Whisenhunt last off season as well. It’s believed that Butler is being groomed as Dick LeBeau’s replacement when he retires, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette has reported that the franchise may not give the Cardinals permission to discuss their opening with Butler this year. This is disappointing, as Butler would likely lead this list of candidates should he be available.
Only time will tell if one of these men will be named the next defensive coordinator for the Cards, but regardless of who Whisenhunt names his next D.C. expect them to improve upon a defense which ranked among the league’s worst in 2010.