Arizona Cardinals Narrow Down Head Coach Search to Two Candidates

The Arizona Cardinals are wrapping up a prolonged search for a new head coach, and they've reportedly narrowed down their candidate pool to two prominent defensive coordinators. Per ESPN's John Weinfuss, the team hopes to hire either Cincinnati Bengals DC Lou Anarumo or Philadelphia Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon for their top job.Anarumo initially joined the Bengals in 2019 along with head coach Zac Taylor. The pair successfully rebuilt the team from the league's basement, taking the Bengals from 2-14 in their first year all the way to consecutive AFC Championship game appearances over the past two seasons. Despite the Bengals' achievements, Anarumo's defenses have only had modest success. He has never coached a unit that finished better than 16th in yards allowed, and this year's group was his first to finish inside the top 10 for points allowed. 

Gannon took over as defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021. After finishing 10th in yards allowed and 18th in points allowed under Gannon in their first year, the Eagles defense flourished into one of the league's best units this season, finishing second in yards allowed and eighth in points allowed. His defense dominated in the first two rounds of the playoffs, allowing a mere 14 points and 391 yards combined, before stumbling badly in the Super Bowl, allowing 24 points on the final four drives of a 38-35 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

That the Cardinals have focused their coaching search on a pair of defensive coordinators speaks to a shift in priorities in the organization. Their previous head coach Kliff Kingsbury was a supposed offensive wunderkind who had never coached at the NFL level. After a 28-37-1 record over his four seasons with the team and no top-10 finishes in points scored, the Cardinals are clearly course-correcting.

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