TEMPE, Ariz. -- Hours after firing coach Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill sat behind a microphone and pledged to cast a wide net to find successors to former general manager Steve Keim, who stepped away from the organization last week, and Kingsbury.
Bidwill laid out plans for both searches, the first ones he’s done without the aid of Keim, which he hopes to execute with an “incredible sense of urgency.”
“I won't have a general manager by my side, but I've got the benefit of reaching out to a number of folks around the league, current general managers as well as other respected league executives about who the best and brightest are out there,” Bidwill said.
Bidwill’s preference is to hire a general manager before naming a coach. However, Bidwill said Arizona will hire the right head coach if he comes along before the team has named a GM.
Bidwill began his search for Arizona’s third head coach in the past six years by not focusing on coaches associated with one side of the ball. Nor does it matter to Bidwill if the coach is a CEO-type who doesn’t call plays and oversees the operation of the team, or will be the playcaller on either side of the ball.
“I think it depends on the exact person, and I don't want to have any cookie-cutter idea about what that model is and what works best,” Bidwill said. “And that's why the preference is to have the GM on board first so that they can help with the evaluation of who the best coach will be and what that style's gonna be.”
One of the priorities -- if not the top priority -- of the Cardinals’ next coach will be building a relationship with quarterback Kyler Murray.
Bidwill and Murray have been in touch, and the two were expected to talk so Murray could give input on the season and the search.
Bidwill wants Murray to remain a dual-threat quarterback whenever he’s recovered from his ACL tear.
“We just want to get him back to where he was,” Bidwill said. “We'll get him back healthy and look forward to moving forward.
“He's going to recover from this injury and we're going to have a great player come back next year and, so, I think it's really important for us to make sure that we don't lose sight of that. And let's not lose sight of 13 months ago we were [10-2], we’re the hottest team in the league just 13 months ago. ... I feel like we can be a quick turnaround.”
Bidwill expects to interview an internal coaching candidate, who is likely to be defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Bidwill declined to answer a question on whether he anticipates reaching out to the New Orleans Saints to get permission to interview former coach Sean Payton.
Bidwill hopes to find a coach and general manager who can have a “real partnership” in building the roster, saying he recognizes there are models around the league where the head coach has more control of the roster than the general manager.
Bidwill also said he’s ready to open his wallet for the right candidates.
“What I'm willing to do financially is get the best coach and the best GM,” he said. “I don't know the biggest name correlates to the best coach. So, I guess what I would say is I definitely want to make sure that we get the best coach and the best general manager for this team and get this team turned around as fast as we can.”
Bidwill said he doesn’t want to be involved in deciding whom to sign and cut, but he wants to be in the loop.
“I want to understand what we're doing and why we're doing it,” he said. “And I think that's appropriate for me.”
Bidwill has already interviewed two in-house GM candidates -- VP of player personnel Quentin Harris and VP of pro personnel Adrian Wilson -- and one unnamed external candidate. Former New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese was scheduled to interview Tuesday, according to ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano.
Bidwill added he had been on the phone Monday morning setting up interviews and requesting permission to talk to candidates around the league, and already has more interviews lined up for later in the week. The Cardinals have requested permission to interview San Francisco 49ers assistant general manager Adam Peters and the 49ers’ director of pro personnel Ran Carthon, according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, as well as Chicago Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham, according to reports.
Bidwill said the NFL’s two front-office accelerator programs gave him a jump start on putting together a list of potential candidates.
“That gave us an ability to visit with and get to know a number of the up-and-coming GM and personnel candidates,” Bidwill said. “I already feel like we've started down that road and so these won't be the first conversations I've had with a number of these folks, not knowing that where we'd be today back in May or even last month.”
Bidwill is trying to get a “360-degree view” of his candidates through a series of meetings, phone calls and text messages with people around the league.
“I think that the key is casting the net far and wide, making sure that we've got somebody with a very good plan with the right leadership skills that can come in, not only at GM, but also at head coach, to make sure that we build the kind of team and squad and roster as well as staff and plan on both the offense and defensive side of the ball to make sure that we can win the NFC West.
“And I don't know that we're as broken as maybe people think. I mean, our record is terrible, but when you look at the talent on this team, we've got a lot of talent. We've just got to make sure that they're all playing together.”