TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals, one of two NFL teams still looking for a head coach, have interviewed Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and plan to talk to Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
Bevell, 43, was interviewed on Wednesday at Cardinals headquarters. He was the fifth known candidate to interview for the job vacated when the team fired Ken Whisenhunt the day after the season ended.
It wasn’t known when the Arians interview would be held, but that news, first reported by NFL.com and confirmed by The Associated Press, indicates Arizona’s search will go on a few more days, at least.
Arians, a finalist for the Chicago job that went to Marc Trestman on Wednesday, is running out of options if he wants to be a head coach next season as positions were filled in rapid succession on Wednesday, leaving only the Arizona and Jacksonville jobs still open.
Arians spent 12 games as interim head coach in Indianapolis while coach Chuck Pagano was treated for leukemia. The Colts went 9-3 in those dozen games with Arians in charge. He succeeded Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh and was there for five seasons before leaving to go to the Colts and their new rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Arians also was head coach at Temple for five years.
Of the others who interviewed with the Cardinals, one is off the market. Mike McCoy, Denver’s offensive coordinator, took the head coaching job in San Diego earlier this week. The Cardinals also interviewed their defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Bevell, who grew up in nearby Scottsdale and played for Chaparral High, has a career of working with successful quarterbacks, including Seattle’s rookie sensation Russell Wilson. If he got the Arizona job, he’d be trying to repair the worst quarterback situation in the league. Arizona started four people at the position and the only one who had any success, Kevin Kolb, went down to a season-ending injury in Week 6.
“I was real fortunate to start my career with a great quarterback in Brett Favre (withthe Vikings),” Bevell said after his interview, “but there were a lot of other guys along the way that I was able to work with, whether it was in college or in the positions that I’ve had after that. …
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the quarterback, your tight end, your running back, what do they do well? We want to accentuate those positives, and the things that they don’t do as well. We need to cover those up and make their strengths come out. That’s what I’ve tried to do.”
He said the Seahawks “just loved” Wilson from the start.
“We loved his intangibles, loved how he played the game, how important it was to him, his belief system that he had in himself and that he was going to always be successful,” Bevell said, ” but then it was my job to figure out what he did well.”
Bevell said that from the first game against Arizona, which the Seahawks lost, to the last spectacular performance in the close loss at Atlanta last weekend “we evolved and we changed.”
“It was all changing to do what was best for him, but then also to do what was best for the other guys that are around him to help them all be successful.”
Along the way, the Seahawks beat Arizona 58-0 in Seattle. He was asked why he would be a good fit with the Cardinals.
“I’ve had the opportunity the last two years to be in this division,” Bevell said. “I’ve also spent a long time in the NFC North, and I’ve just really been an NFC coach all along. So I do know a little more about it.”
He also knows the Phoenix area, for sure.
“It’s also exciting because it’s my hometown,” Bevell said. “It’s where I grew up. I’ve got a lot of friends, and obviously my whole family still lives here, so I think that’s an attraction for me as well.”
After leaving high school, Bevell was a redshirt freshman quarterback at Northern Arizona, then went on a two-year Mormon mission before enrolling at Wisconsin — the same school where Russell excelled — and quarterbacked the Badgers to a Rose Bowl victory over UCLA.
Bevell, who also interviewed for the Bears job, said he only knows the Cardinals’ quarterback problems from afar.
“I know it’s been a tough situation,” he said. “There have been quarterbacks, kind of this last year particularly, coming in and out, playing four guys. There have been injuries. There have been all kinds of different reasons. But that will be, if something happens that I’m the head coach, that will be something that we’ve got to rectify, got to figure it out, what the best thing will be for the Arizona Cardinals and be able to go from there.”
He does, after all, have that experience dealing with quarterbacks.
“I’ve definitely been schooled in that,” Bevell said. “We had some crazy situations going on, particularly with Brett and how those situations came about. So I do have some experience in that area. Obviously, I truly believe that so goes the quarterback, so goes your team.”
Bevell was offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings for five seasons before joining Pete Carroll in Seattle in 2011.