Defensive line coach candidate emerges for Arizona Cardinals
Bringing back former assistant Brentson Buckner to coach the defensive line would be an excellent move by the Arizona Cardinals
After one season on the job, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury elected to retain most of his assistants. There were a few, however, who failed to cut the mustard in the eyes of the organization. Defensive line boss Chris Achuff was one who did get the axe, and an intriguing candidate has emerged for that vacant spot on the Cards coaching staff.
This past Tuesday, an old friend of the franchise was also relieved of his duties. The Oakland Raiders, in what was considered a somewhat surprising move, fired former Arizona employee Brentson Buckner. Based on what he helped the “Silver and Black” defense accomplish this past season, it’s difficult to fathom why the club decided to hand the d-line coach his walking papers.
Oakland’s defensive group improved in two crucial areas last fall. The squad went from a ranking of 30th-overall against the run in 2018, to eighth-best this past year. In addition, the Raiders pass-rush racked up 32 sacks in 2019, compared to just 13 the campaign before.
Buckner, who was hired by former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians back in 2013, enjoyed a successful five-year stint in the desert. The former second-round draft selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers, following Arians’ temporary retirement, spent one season coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive front in ’18. Buckner jumped to the Raiders in ’19, where things obviously didn’t work out for the 48-year old.
The Cards were set to interview former Alabama and Cleveland Browns assistant Tosh Lupoi for their defensive line coach opening, but the Atlanta Falcons landed him instead. While they missed out on that opportunity, the experienced Buckner may turn out to be an even better choice for coordinator Vance Joseph‘s contingent. Whether Kingsbury and Arizona general manager Steve Keim agree with that assessment remains to be seen.