If you've read this column with any regularity this year, you know that I wasn't always Bruce Arians' biggest fan. As a head coach, I questioned his lack of aggression, along with his decision making on 3rd and 4th downs, and his usage of timeouts and challenges. As an offensive coordinator, I loved his willingness to go deep, but grew frustrated with the resulting hits to his QB - I desperately wanted him to develop a short and intermediate game to go along with the vertical attack.
And as the season ended and Arians' name was thrown out there as a hot commodity in head coaching searches, I was not-so-secretly okay with him moving on. But as the season ended, as I had time to digest what I had watched, what the Colts had been able to do, I started getting mixed feelings. I really did love the vertical aspects of Arians offense, his connection with the players on the roster was undeniable, and, most importantly, I had some major fear of the unknown. There are some seriously bad OC candidates out there, and some of them have ties to Pagano, and, oh, forget it: I was afraid they would hire Cam Cameron.
In the end, when I got down to it, the nits I was picking with Bruce Arians weren't to make him a good coordinator, they were to make him a darn near perfect one. Maybe my standards are too high.
So when it started to look like Arians may not get a head coaching job after all - as the Chargers, Browns, and Bears (oh my!) hired head coaches NOT named Bruce Arians - I was okay with it. Think about it: Grigson is almost guaranteed to make wholesale changes along the OL, and Arians, like every other coach in the league, will take a look at what did and didn't work in 2012 and continue to tweak and adapt things to make it work better. There's a chance the 2013 Bruce Arians-Andrew Luck offense could have been record setting.
Then, out of the blue came the Cardinals: "What a bad fit," I, and the rest of the triple-digit-IQ universe, thought. Still, Arians rightly accepted the job. I say rightly because, look, head coaching jobs don't grow on trees. 2012 was a perfect storm for Bruce Arians, he developed a rookie QB into a star, he got head coaching experience, he lead his team to a 9-3 record, and due to all of the circumstances surrounding the Colts season, not one negative thing was said about him the entire year.
Did the Cardinals do the Colts a Favor?
The Colts Authority | Jan 21