September 26, 2023

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The Arizona Cardinals had taken a lengthy process in finding a head coach since firing Kliff Kingsbury at the end of the season — and finally are zeroing in on a small group of candidates. According to multiple reports, Arizona brought back three candidates for a second interview: Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores, Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, and New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka.

However, before Flores’ interview, which was reportedly set for Wednesday, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones reported Monday that Flores is expected to become the Vikings defensive coordinator. The two sides are working to finalize the contract, per Jones.

With Flores out of the running, that only leaves Anarumo and Kafka. Other candidates for the job, who did not receive second interviews, included Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan.

Kafka has played a major role in the development of Daniel Jones, making the quarterback competent and got the most out of an offense that was down several wide receivers throughout the season and had one of the worst offensive lines in football. Another member of the Andy Reid coaching tree, Kafka was the Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach since 2018 and part of the brain trust that developed Patrick Mahomes into the best quarterback in the league. Kafka also played under Reid when he was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, providing vast knowledge of the position. 

Anarumo has been Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator since 2019 when Zac Taylor was hired as the organization’s next head coach. He’s helped the club to two AFC Championship appearances and a Super Bowl berth in 2021. The Bengals allowed the fewest fourth quarter points in the league under Anarumo’s watch last season. 

The Cardinals never hired a head coach later than Feb. 7 (Vince Tobin in 1996), but that streak could be broken this week.

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