Cardinals need to prep for possible departure of Vance Joseph

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Vance Joseph
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Vance Joseph /

The Arizona Cardinals will be on the hunt for a new defensive coordinator if Vance Joseph ends up with the Miami Dolphins.

For the past couple of years, a faction of Arizona Cardinals followers have called for the dismissal of Vance Joseph. Don’t look now, but that segment of the “Red Sea” may finally get their wish.

According to reports, Joseph (Arizona’s defensive coordinator since 2019) is high on the list of candidates for the Miami Dolphins’ head-coaching position. That organization is familiar with the 49-year-old assistant, having employed him as the squad’s defensive boss back in 2016. Joseph spent just one season in Miami before leaving to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2017.

Apparently, Joseph made a good impression during his one campaign with the Dolphins. The speculation is that Miami’s No. 1 choice for head coach is Brian Daboll, the offensive coordinator from the Buffalo Bills. There are reportedly five more individuals who could also be in the mix if Joseph and Daboll don’t work out.

There’s a belief around the NFL that Daboll could be the next coach of the New York Giants. That would leave the door wide open for Joseph to flock to the Dolphins. If that were to happen, there are several different directions that the Cards could go in to find a new leader for the defense.

Several exciting options exist for the Arizona Cardinals if Vance Joseph leaves

There are a group of intriguing defensive assistants that the Cardinals may find appealing, and Vic Fangio could very well be at the top of the list. The 63-year-old spent the past three years as the head coach of the Broncos, but he was fired earlier this month. Fangio’s experience as a defensive coordinator at the professional level includes stints with the Carolina Panthers (1995-98), Indianapolis Colts (1999-2001), Houston Texans (2002-05), San Francisco 49ers (2011-14), and Chicago Bears (2015-18).

Another interesting possibility for Arizona would be Mike Zimmer, a 65-year-old who spent the past eight seasons as the Minnesota Vikings head coach. The Illinois native was relieved of his duties by that club earlier this month, and he could be looking to run the defense on someone else’s staff. Zimmer has served as a coordinator at the NFL level with the Dallas Cowboys (2000-06), Atlanta Falcons (2007), and Cincinnati Bengals (2008-13).

If it’s an experienced coordinator that the Cards are looking for, the organization couldn’t do any better than Wade Phillips. The 74-year-old served as the head coach of the Broncos (1993-94), Bills (1998-2000), and Cowboys (2007-10), and as the interim head coach of the New Orleans Saints (1985), Falcons (2003) and Texans (2013). Phillips, who has not coached since ’19, has been employed as a defensive coordinator with eight different teams at the pro level.

One more excellent option is Don “Wink” Martindale, the former defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. The 58-year old held that job for four years (2018-21) before being handed his walking papers last week. Martindale also held the same position with Denver back in 2010.

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