Since the Arizona Cardinals hired Jonathan Gannon following the Super Bowl, reception hovered between mixed and negative, but that should dissipate.
We have only been in training camp for just under a week, and it’s already clear as to why Jonathan Gannon was the right coach for the Arizona Cardinals. When they first brought him on, we saw the reactions, the poor, or at best, mixed grades, and the plummeting expectations.
But following the first week of training camp, we’ve been seeing sweeping changes in the building. Darren Urban of AZ Cardinals wrote a piece that mentioned a few of these changes that were for the better, and they appear to be policies that Gannon’s predecessor, Kliff Kingsbury, failed to implement.
"“Such behavior has already been put in place, noted by multiple players. Team gear must be worn at work. No one better be late to a meeting or skip a lifting session. There are prices to pay if that happens. Accountability is king, and that is something everyone involved expects.”"- Darren Urban
Source: Cardinals, Gannon Creating Own Expectations For Season by Darren Urban
For a young team like the Arizona Cardinals under a new regime, these changes were necessary, and they will only help build team chemistry in the long run. Some of the policies listed in the quote from Urban’s piece, though, should have been in place well before the coach got there, but there was no mention of them, at least from what I could find.
Arizona Cardinals finally seeing positive culture change under Gannon
You can claim that Jonathan Gannon wasn’t the correct guy for the Cardinals. And you can also say that we need to see what happens on the field before we rush to judgment. The latter statement is correct: What happens during the games will ultimately decide whether Gannon stays in the desert long-term.
But far too often, we don’t factor in foundations, and this is what I’m getting to. Gannon has laid the proper foundation for this football team by implementing structure that it appears they never saw under Kingsbury.
Accountability is everywhere with this team, which will translate to the playing field when the games count. It also signals that expectations are higher - that you need to look, act, and even dress like you’re part of the unit, and that’s chemistry that should also translate to the games.
It’s easy to underestimate the overall environment and workplace culture, and if an NFL coach underestimates it, they will have a tougher time succeeding in the league. No, the Arizona Cardinals don’t have a playoff-caliber roster on paper, but by instilling what it takes to get to and ultimately win a championship early, that can pay dividends down the road.
Jonathan Gannon and his staff realize this, and it increases the team’s chances of playing at least decent football this season. There are no guarantees, but it’s better to have a coach who is adamant about building and sustaining a culture as opposed to one who will take a more low-key, hands-off approach.