Head coach’s loyalty a problem for Arizona Cardinals

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Drew Stanton
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Drew Stanton /

Arizona Cardinals’ coach Bruce Arians needs to cut ties with some baggage that is clearly not a help to his football team

There’s no denying that the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals does what he wants. Bruce Arians, at the ripe old age of 64, isn’t going to listen to anyone at this point in his coaching career. Unfortunately, that “my way or the highway” stance could be having a negative effect on his football squad.

The fact that Arians is extremely loyal to those who are part of his inner circle isn’t always a good thing. Although general manager Steve Keim is technically his boss, it appears that the two-time AP Coach of the Year has carte blanche with the Cardinals.

Despite being incredibly inept at his job, special teams’ coordinator Amos Jones remains with the club. A legitimate argument could be made that his unit cost the Cards at least three games and a possible playoff birth last year. A play in this past Saturday’s preseason loss to the Chicago Bears was an unwelcome flashback to the struggles that Jones’ group experienced in 2016.

After new Arizona kicker Phil Dawson missed an ill-advised 63-yard field goal, the Bears’ Deonte Thompson made the most of the miscue. The wide receiver gathered the ball and raced 109 yards for a touchdown, leaving a bevy of Cardinals in his dust. It was an embarrassing sequence for Jones and the special teams, and quite a momentum-changer for Chicago.

Backup quarterback Drew Stanton is another favorite of Arians’. The two were together in 2012 as members of an Indianapolis Colts’ team that overcame adversity. Arians took over as head coach for an ill Chuck Pagano, and guided them to the postseason.

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When Arians accepted the head coaching position of the Cards in 2013, one of his first moves was to bring in Stanton. He needed a signal-caller who was well-versed in his ultra-complicated offensive system, and the journeyman was a logical choice. Though named the starter upon his arrival, Stanton ultimately lost that post to another newcomer, Carson Palmer.

Fast forward to this offseason and the signing of former first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert. Despite being outplayed by the former Jacksonville Jaguar, Stanton has somehow retained his number-two status. Gabbert has consistently moved the Arizona offense this summer, while the teacher’s pet out of Michigan State University has been as erratic as ever.

It was on the “Bickley and Marotta” show on Arizona Sports 98.7 that Arians revealed his intentions to stick with Stanton as Palmer’s backup. It’s pretty obvious that the gig wasn’t earned on the field. One can’t help but think that Gabbert was gonna be the third-stringer not matter how good he looked during the exhibition contests.

It’s about time that Keim exercises his authority and makes some strong recommendations to his head coach. Jones and Stanton should be thanked for their service to the organization and shown the door. The Cards’ playoff aspirations may go by the wayside if they’re not.