Cardinals Narrowing List Of HC Candidates

The Cardinals appear to be narrowing their head coaching search. As Ian Rapoport of recently reported on The Pat McAfee Show, the team will either work to hire Sean Payton — whom they interviewed on Thursday — or will look to bring in another candidate for a second interview (video link). Per Rapoport, Brian Flores, Aaron Glenn, and Ejiro Evero would receive a second look if Arizona does not bring Payton aboard.

Rapoport added that the Cardinals are “resetting” in the wake of the Payton interview, though it’s unclear exactly what that means for Payton’s candidacy. The formers Saints HC, who is still under contract with New Orleans, has seen his momentum towards a return to the league stall a bit, and an earlier report from Rapoport indicated that Payton might not secure an HC job this year. Part of the reason for that could be the fact that the Saints are said to be demanding two first-round picks in exchange for Payton’s rights, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via NFL reporter Dov Kleiman on Twitter). That is consistent with a report from’s Jeff Duncan earlier this month.

We recently heard that Flores was “firmly in the mix” for Arizona’s HC post, with several outlets suggesting that he is the frontrunner. Of course, the Cards hired former Patriots exec Monti Ossenfort as their general manager, and team owner Michael Bidwill is reportedly interested in pairing Ossenfort with Flores, the Patriots’ former defensive coordinator. Flores has also been connected to several current defensive coordinator vacancies, though one would imagine he would accept an offer to become the Cardinals’ head coach if Bidwill goes that route.

Glenn, meanwhile, boosted his HC stock thanks to the Lions’ strong finish to the 2022 campaign. Detroit’s defensive coordinator oversaw a unit that started the season 1-6 but ended on an 8-2 run that nearly led to a playoff berth. During that impressive stretch, the club’s defense yielded 20.2 points per game, the 11th-best mark in the league. Glenn has also earned praise for his development of defensive players like Aidan HutchinsonJames HoustonJeff Okudah, and Kerby Joseph. As Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports observes, Glenn has known Murray and his family for some time, which could help his cause (Twitter link).

Along with Flores and Glenn, Evero would be another defensive-minded finalist. The Broncos’ defense was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal 2022, and in addition to the work he did with Denver, Evero has apparently acquitted himself nicely in his sit-downs with NFL clubs during this year’s cycle. The 42-year-old secured interviews with all five teams in need of a new head coach, and he advanced to the second round with the Colts and Texans,

Here’s how the Cards’ search is shaping up:

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