When the Arizona Cardinals tabbed Bruce Arians to be their head coach, they found a guy who won the NFL's Coach of the Year Award for the work he did the previous season.
That, in itself, is a real coup for the club. However, according to NFL.com's Jason Smith, the Cards also got the league's best offensive play-caller.
In a piece where the site's experts were asked to nominate someone and give a reason, Smith chose the new Arizona boss and said Arians is finally getting his due as an offensive genius.
It's Bruce Arians, and everyone else. Now you know why, without a marquee running back, the Pittsburgh Steelers were so dominant while he was calling plays for them. He finally got his credit last season, as the Indianapolis Colts surprised everyone by winning 11 games with a rookie quarterback, average talent at wide receiver and tight end, and below-average talent in the backfield. And remember how the Colts did it? By driving long distances late in games to beat Minnesota, Green Bay, Tennessee and Detroit -- in addition to being able to salt away other games late with time-consuming drives.
Arians is what you'd call a late bloomer, but it's terrific that he's at the party. And even though he hired Harold Goodwin to be his offensive coordinator in Arizona, Arians will still call the plays for the Cardinals in 2013. I can't wait to see what he does, as I expect Larry Fitzgerald to return to prominence, and Carson Palmer to turn into Kurt Warner with a late-career desert resurgence.
From Smith's lips (or keyboard, as it may be) to the football gods' ears.
Arians has had success in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, and there is hope he can do the same in Arizona. And with a revamped offensive line, a new quarterback, some talented running backs and some guy named Larry Fitzgerald, there's a lot of optimism that he'll be able to.
Other nominees on the list are New Orleans coach Sean Payton, Green Bay Boss Mike McCarthy, Houston coach Gary Kubiak, Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.