Redskins

Arians promises disciplined, physical, fast team

201301181508545142544-p2.jpeg

Arians promises disciplined, physical, fast team

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) After nearly 38 years in the business, at age 60, Bruce Arians finally is an NFL head coach.

And he's made it clear that he's ready to run with it.

Arians was introduced as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, promising to build a team that's ``smart, disciplined, fast and physical - accountable, no excuses.''

The man who went 9-3 as interim coach in Indianapolis after Chuck Pagano left to be treated for leukemia choked up when he talked about his family, saying of his wife ``this is our 15th move.''

And Arians moved quickly, saying he wants a staff assembled by Sunday. He parted ways with popular Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who in a matter of hours was named to the same position in Cleveland.

Arians will call the offensive plays himself, although he will bring in someone with the title of offensive coordinator.

He said he proved to himself last year that he can be a successful head coach.

``And it was fun,'' Arians said. ``I got a taste of the blood.''

His offense, he said, will be as aggressive as he is. He believes that teams can turn their fortunes around in a hurry.

``I'm a straight shooter,'' Arians said. ``I don't come home with any bullets left in the gun. I think players respect honest and discipline, and we're going to work hard. They're going to be accountable, not to me, to each other. It's not my football team. Our players will decide how good they are. It's their football team. If they want to win, we'll win. I'll show them the way. I'm no magic man. I've never tried to be.

``I'll give them the plan, execute the plan with passion and energy and Cardinals will be Cardinals - disciplined, fast, physical football.''

He wouldn't confirm reports that Todd Bowles, still under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, would be his defensive coordinator in Arizona, but he certainly spoke highly of him.

``Obviously, he's very dear to me,'' Arians said. ``He was one of my captains at Temple (where Arians was head coach for five years). He's got a bunch of Super Bowl rings as a player and he's a hell of a football coach. That's all I can say.''

Arians' long history in the sport - he coached for Bear Bryant, for heaven's sake - has made him appreciate finally getting a head coaching job, although his stint in place of Pagano taught him once and for all ``that I can do it.''

``I didn't know if it would ever happen, and I was fine without it,'' he said. ``It's been just a great journey, the relationships I've built over the years.''

Pagano said the Cardinals are getting ``a great coach but a better man.''

Arians famously left the light on in Pagano's office while the coach battled leukemia, and said he wept in his car when Pagano returned to work on Christmas Eve and, when he went home for the night, turned the light out.

``What he did in my absence was truly remarkable. I am forever in debt to Bruce,'' Pagano said. ``He is and always will be a great friend and I wish him nothing but the best as he begins this new chapter in his life.''

Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said he spoke with ``close to 10 candidates,'' a group that included Horton.

But Bidwill said he knew halfway through dinner with Arians on Wednesday night that this was the right man for the job.

``He does have a different vibe,'' Bidwill said. ``... I had heard so many great things about him. The million-dollar question here is can a guy go from coordinator to head coach. I think he answered it in Indianapolis. Then I got a chance to visit with him and get to know him. There was just no question that he's going to be a great head coach and I'm looking forward to working with him.''

Arians has emphasized the importance of building a close working relationship with his quarterback, a group that for him included a young Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger ("my other son,'' Arians said) and last year Andrew Luck.

In Arizona, the search will be on for a quarterback, be it someone already on the roster, such as Kevin Kolb, or a person Arians repeatedly refers to as ``behind Door No. 2.''

The Cardinals ranked last in the NFL in offense. Kolb was 4-2 as a starter but went down in Week 6 with a season-ending rib injury. Three other quarterbacks started as Arizona lost 10 of 11 to finish 5-11.

If Kolb returns, he probably will have to rework his contract that's due to give him $9 million, plus a $2 million roster bonus, in the coming year.

``I've seen Kevin. He can spin it,'' Arians said. ``He's had his moments, and he's had some not-so-good moments, but he's also had the crap knocked out of him a few times.''

Such as being sacked 17 times over two consecutive games.

``That's one thing I know is he's tough,'' Arians said. ``He's proven that he's tough and that's a huge part of grit.''

Arians thanked the Rooney family for his eight years in Pittsburgh, a tenure during which he won two Super Bowl rings, the last one in the Steelers' win over Arizona in 2009.

``A short time ago, this organization was 37 seconds away from the Super Bowl trophy,'' Arians said. ``I just happened to be calling plays on the other side, got real lucky, too. That's the excitement that we want to bring back. That's our goal and our only goal.''

When he parted ways with the Steelers after the 2011 season, he was supposedly in retirement. That lasted for about a week, until Pagano called, clearing the way for a remarkable season that paved the way for Arians' journey to the desert.

``I'm a lifer,'' Arians said. ``I embrace this challenge. I can't wait to get started. We're going to have a great coaching staff, and we're going to have a great team.''

-----

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

-----

Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

Quick Links

The Redskins' decision with Dwayne Haskins actually isn't that complicated

The Redskins' decision with Dwayne Haskins actually isn't that complicated

The Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick back in April with one very clear goal in mind: new franchise quarterback. 

What isn't clear, however, is that timeline. 

Eventually, Haskins will be the Redskins starting quarterback. That could happen Week 1 2019, or it could be a year away.

Haskins wasn't particularly impressive during the team's minicamp, and veteran signal caller Case Keenum looked like the better option. Remember, though, real football is more than two months away. The mental aspects of NFL life that Haskins struggled with during the spring sessions, like calling plays and getting to the line of scrimmage in correct formations, are quite fixable. Haskins is smart and has talked about his commitment to learning the playbook. 

If that happens by the time Haskins gets to Richmond, then the quarterback competition will look much different than it did in Ashburn. And the 'Skins don't report to Richmond for another month. 

Here's the reality: Haskins should absolutely compete for the starting quarterback job. That's the minimum expectation for first-round picks. 

The important news: Haskins will compete for the starting job in Richmond. Jay Gruden has been clear about that.

Now, if Haskins doesn't win the job, he can't start. Politics or expectations can't push him into the top spot, no matter what pressure might be applied. 

Football players improve, often dramatically, over the summer. Haskins has all the physical talent needed to take the QB1 spot. He just needs to learn the speed of the NFL, which is challenging, and the depth of the offensive system, which is daunting. 

It's entirely possible Haskins does not win the Redskins starting quarterback job. In fact, it's probable he doesn't, by Week 1 anyway. 

But the notion that he can't start because of a difficult early portion of the schedule is crazy. If Haskins is the best option to win games, Gruden is obligated to give his team the best chance to win a game, regardless of an opponent. 

In a lot of ways, the Redskins decision with Dwayne Haskins is really up to Haskins. Compete and win the job? The decision will be easy. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Manny Machado is returning to Baltimore and the boo birds should stay out of Birdland

machado-boo-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Manny Machado is returning to Baltimore and the boo birds should stay out of Birdland

Let’s not do this, guys.

It’s fun to have players to cheer against. Baseball certainly needs more villains in the sport, and Manny Machado looks like he could fill that role for the league.

But not in Baltimore. Not on his return.

It’s popular to boo players who have gone on to greener pastures, especially when they’re still talented enough to be coveted by their original teams. But Manny Machado is no longer an Oriole because of the Orioles themselves, not Machado.

This isn’t the Bryce Harper return, after he turned down a legitimate offer from the Nationals to sign with their most hated rivals. Machado was traded away, and then wasn’t offered a contract last offseason. Furthermore, the Orioles, unlike the Nationals, have no designs on competing in the next few years. It never would have made sense for Machado to waste his prime years on a team starting over from scratch.

He knew it, the Orioles knew it, and thankfully, fans in Baltimore knew it too.

I’ve never been one to tell fans how to spend their time at the ballpark, or whether or not they are “real” fans based on whether they choose to jeer or cheer. It’s their money and their fandom; I have no place to judge it.

That said, please don’t boo Machado.

To be clear, it’s not immunity from all boos in perpetuity. If Machado ever comes out and throws his bat at Trey Mancini or charges the mound at Dylan Bundy, then by all means, deafen him. 

But that doesn’t sound like the Manny Machado Orioles fans came to know and love over the years, does it?

Machado gave Baltimore everything he had for more than half a decade, and the city loved him for it. He provided violent home run swings and graceful plays in the field. He filled the memories of Orioles fans with literal countless unbelievable moments. 

He was the most purely talented player the Orioles have ever employed, and he did something no player was able to do from 1998-2011: Get the O’s to the postseason again.

If for no other reason, the magical 2012 run cements Machado as a player with too strong a legacy in Charm City to get booed in his first game in the city as a visitor.

Thankfully, much of this probably doesn’t need to be said. Baltimore fans are a smart bunch, and they understand the situation Machado was in. Besides, who among us would turn down $300 million to live in San Diego?

When Machado steps to the plate Tuesday night, give Machado the sendoff he never got after his trade. Remind him how much joy he brought to the city for such a long time. Remind yourselves that, in rare situations, it’s okay to give an ovation to an opposing player. Remind everyone of what makes Baltimore fans special, by reminding Manny Machado of what made him so special to us.

Do this however you choose. Make a sign. Ask for an autograph. Wear his jersey. Cheer.

Just don’t boo.

MORE ORIOLES NEWS: