Arians promises disciplined, physical, fast team

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm •  Published: January 18, 2013
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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — After nearly 38 years in the business, at age 60, Bruce Arians finally is an NFL head coach.

And he's made it clear that he's ready to run with it.

Arians was introduced as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, promising to build a team that's "smart, disciplined, fast and physical — accountable, no excuses."

The man who went 9-3 as interim coach in Indianapolis after Chuck Pagano left to be treated for leukemia choked up when he talked about his family, saying of his wife "this is our 15th move."

And Arians moved quickly, saying he wants a staff assembled by Sunday. He parted ways with popular Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who in a matter of hours was named to the same position in Cleveland.

Arians will call the offensive plays himself, although he will bring in someone with the title of offensive coordinator.

He said he proved to himself last year that he can be a successful head coach.

"And it was fun," Arians said. "I got a taste of the blood."

His offense, he said, will be as aggressive as he is. He believes that teams can turn their fortunes around in a hurry.

"I'm a straight shooter," Arians said. "I don't come home with any bullets left in the gun. I think players respect honest and discipline, and we're going to work hard. They're going to be accountable, not to me, to each other. It's not my football team. Our players will decide how good they are. It's their football team. If they want to win, we'll win. I'll show them the way. I'm no magic man. I've never tried to be.

"I'll give them the plan, execute the plan with passion and energy and Cardinals will be Cardinals — disciplined, fast, physical football."

He wouldn't confirm reports that Todd Bowles, still under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, would be his defensive coordinator in Arizona, but he certainly spoke highly of him.

"Obviously, he's very dear to me," Arians said. "He was one of my captains at Temple (where Arians was head coach for five years). He's got a bunch of Super Bowl rings as a player and he's a hell of a football coach. That's all I can say."

Arians' long history in the sport — he coached for Bear Bryant, for heaven's sake — has made him appreciate finally getting a head coaching job, although his stint in place of Pagano taught him once and for all "that I can do it."

"I didn't know if it would ever happen, and I was fine without it," he said. "It's been just a great journey, the relationships I've built over the years."

Pagano said the Cardinals are getting "a great coach but a better man."

Arians famously left the light on in Pagano's office while the coach battled leukemia, and said he wept in his car when Pagano returned to work on Christmas Eve and, when he went home for the night, turned the light out.

"What he did in my absence was truly remarkable. I am forever in debt to Bruce," Pagano said. "He is and always will be a great friend and I wish him nothing but the best as he begins this new chapter in his life."