They are wasting no time, and rightly so. With such high expectations coming into the 2006 season, and the subsequent 5-11 record the team produced, it was no surprise that head coach Dennis Green was fired almost immediately after the end of the season. The odds were a bit better for Rod Graves, the Cardinals Vice President of Football Operations, though perhaps they should not have been.
The conventional wisdom has been that Graves did his job, because the talent level on the Cardinals has been raised dramatically. With more talent, it just made the case for keeping Green even harder, since the players underperformed early and often in 2006. The conventional wisdom was proven right when the Cardinals announced that although Green would be let go, Graves contract would be extended by three years.
The search is on now, as the Cardinals will start interviewing candidates almost immediately. Mike Sherman is scheduled for a Thursday interview, and as soon as their seasons end the Cardinals will talk to Colts assistant Jim Caldwell and Bears offensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
The quick timing of the interviews bodes well for several reasons. First, it means Graves and the Bidwells have finally let go of the pipe dream that is luring Pete Carroll away from USC. Though Carroll would certainly be the first choice of many teams, waiting to see if Carroll would be willing is ignorant, and could cause the Cardinals to miss out on other viable candidates.
One of the names not mentioned as a potential interview was former Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr. With the Falcons Mora was never able to fully install his beloved West Coast offense, because Michael Vick was never able to fully acclimate to it. Matt Leinart on the other hand is almost custom built for the offense, and Mora should be a consideration.
Of course the most hotly debated name on the 'potentials' list will be Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow. The Titans have given the Cardinals permission to speak with him, and Matt Leinart will surely give his former USC offensive coordinator a call, if for no other reason than to celebrate USC's shellacking of Michigan Monday, as the two reportedly still talk often.
Chow has played an important role in turning Vince Young into the likely Rookie of the Year, and though Young is loaded with talent, many thought the Titans had made a horrible mistake taking him with the #3 overall pick. Young himself has given Chow a ton of praise for his quick development, and with a better slate of receivers and a more polished, if not as explosive, QB in Leinart, Chow will certainly be much sought after. In fact rumors are already coming out of Atlanta that the Falcons, after seeing Chow work with a young, 'run-first' QB, are interested in bringing Chow in to work with Vince Young.