Arians among top half of head coaches

TEMPE, Ariz. – It didn’t take Bruce Arians long to start turning heads throughout the league as the Cardinals’ head coach.

In a poll by ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando of 30 insiders, which included currents general managers, former GMs, personnel directors, executives, coordinators and position coaches, Arians’ offensive ingenuity helped him become one of 13 coaches with multiple Tier 1 votes.

Arians was ranked the 13th-best coach in the NFL, ahead of Indianapolis’ Chuck Pagano, the Jets' Rex Ryan and Tennessee’s Ken Whisenhunt, who Arians replaced in January 2013.

“He is great with quarterbacks, has a very good offensive mind and a strong personality,” a general manager said. “Look at what he did in Indy and what he has done in Arizona. Great hire.”

Others cited Arians’ ability to relate to his players, who multiple voters believed responded well to Arians and, in turn, wanted to play for him.

“He has a way about himself,” one offensive coordinator said.

Arians’ stint in Indianapolis in 2012, when he replaced Chuck Pagano as head coach for 12 games, leading the Colts to a 9-3 record, built some goodwill for him around the league. He added to that last season, going 10-6 in his first year with the Cardinals and nearly leading them to the playoffs.