Vance Joseph Next Arizona Cardinals Head Coach?

Vance Joseph

The Arizona Cardinals era with Kliff Kingsbury is all but over, with many expecting the end of the regular season to also mark the end of his tenure. The rumors have begun to swirl about the impending vacancy and, according to Albert Breer, Vance Joseph as the next Cardinals head coach is not an improbability.

Joseph has been the Cardinals defensive coordinator since 2019. He has occupied a co-HC role alongside Kliff Kingsbury, expanding his responsibilities beyond the normal coordinator role.

Vance Joseph Could Become Next Arizona Cardinals Head Coach

Alongside the news that Joseph will be a lead candidate for the Cardinals head coach, Breer also revealed that current interim general managers Quentin Harris and Adrian Wilson are the likeliest candidates to take over after Steve Keim’s impending exit. They would form a kind of co-GM system.

The rumors may not come to fruition, but it certainly points to owner Michael Bidwill’s intent to promote staff from within the organization. Harris has been a Cardinals executive since 2008 and Wilson since 2015. Both also represented the Cardinals as players.

There are many good candidates outside of Arizona to take over GM and HC responsibilities respectively. However, it seems that Bidwill trusts his current setup and believes that refreshing the leadership will be sufficient. Some have also suggested that Bidwill is reluctant to spend more money to appoint a new GM and HC, given the long extensions he gave to Kingsbury and Keim last off-season.

It should be noted that Breer also said that Kingsbury’s future is also contested. His exit is not as inevitable as people think, and a fifth season is not an impossibility.

Vance Joseph as Next Cardinals Head Coach: An Analysis

Appointing Joseph as the Cardinals head coach would certainly be underwhelming. Many of his critics have pointed to his record with the Denver Broncos, where he was removed after going 5-11 and 6-10 in his only two seasons as Denver’s coach.

His lack of previous success as a head coach is enough evidence, for many, to say that appointing him as Arizona’s coach would be a big mistake. One argument against this is that Joseph is a different coach to what he was in 2018. Joseph is well respected among Arizona’s players and has managed some elements of a head coach’s duties. This was especially evident when Kingsbury missed a game through COVID in 2021.

But, even if Joseph is viable, it seems like an unambitious move by Bidwill and his new GM(s). While Joseph has been a sufficient defensive coordinator for Arizona, he has been nothing more. This season, Arizona’s defense has passed the eye test, but their numbers are appalling. The defense’s lack of production in no way suggests that Joseph would even be coveted as a head coach by other teams. That said, he was a leading candidate for the Miami Dolphins job last off-season.

In short, the appointment of Joseph as the next Cardinals head coach would disappoint many fans. Many also think that Arizona needs to clean house and refresh its entire approach, from personnel to coaching and beyond. External appointments for GM and HC are certainly preferred by fans and pundits alike.

Further, there is a case to be made that Joseph would be unsuitable as Arizona’s next head coach, being a defensive-minded coach. Many around the league believe that appointing defensive-minded HCs are less effective in the offense-driven NFL. Having signed Kyler Murray to a mega extension, the belief is also that the Cardinals should bring in an offensive-minded coach to aid the development of their franchise quarterback.

Other Head Coach Candidates

Despite Breer’s comments, the Cardinals could certainly still go in a different direction. Perhaps the backlash from the fans at the initial news will guide this. The team could also consider Sean Payton, Mike Kafka, Ken Dorsey, Shane Steichen and DeMeco Ryans.

Payton had previously expressed his interest in Arizona’s top job and would be a premium appointment. The Cardinals would, however, have to trade for his rights from the New Orleans Saints.

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