As the “Cheers” theme song so proudly said, “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.”
Here in Indianapolis everybody knows new Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians’ name.
Just months after leading the Colts to the playoffs replacing an ailing Chuck Pagano, the 2012 AP Coach of the Year is back in his old stomping grounds preparing for his first draft with the Cards. Thursday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium he greeted old friends and made his way around the friendly confines stopping to chat with nearly any one of the 800 plus media members at the Combine.
The Cardinals are hoping Arians can work his magic in the desert after stumbling to a 5-11 finish in 2012 which included a nine-game losing streak and firing of Ken Whisenhunt after the season finale.
“First of all he’s a tremendous individual,” NFL.com senior analyst and longtime Dallas Cowboys Director of Player Personnel Gil Brandt told Pros2Preps.com Thursday in describing Arians. “Every place he’s been [he’s won]. I think what he did this year [with the Colts] is unbelievable. They won two games the year before.”
Arians comes to Arizona with a fresh batch of problems, mostly on the offensive side of the ball where questions remain at quarterback, running back, and along the offensive line where the Red Birds surrendered a record number of sacks last season.
The good news for Cardinal fans is Arians appears to be the right guy to turn around the ship.
“You’re getting an imaginative play caller who’s beloved by his team,” ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter explained to Pros2Preps.com. “The one thing about him is the players in Indy loved playing for him and with him.”
Colts second-year General Manager Ryan Grigson echoed those sentiments.
“His strengths are his directness, yet he can still do it in a way to where it’s not demeaning. He’ll get a chuckle out of someone, but at the same time they’re thinking to themselves I better get this cleaned up or things aren’t going to be good for me around here.”
The 60-year old Arians waited over 20 years for his first NFL head coaching gig and it appears everyone around the league agrees the Cards picked the right man for the job.