As the Arizona Cardinals continue their search for a defensive coordinator, they now have access to coaches from all teams. It has been long been known that the Cardinals have been waiting for the Pittsburgh Steelers to complete their season so that Keith Butler would be available. However, there are reports of events that are a bit surprising considering previous happenings.
In the not-so-surprising news, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic tweeted that the Cardinals had formally asked the Steelers permission to interview Butler and also the Green Bay Packers to interview Winston Moss.
In what is possibly a surprise, according to Mike Jurecki, is that the Steelers denied that permission and that Ray Horton, the Steelers defensive backs coach, will in fact be the next defensive coordinator for the Cardinals.
Another tweet, coming from Butler's son Brandon states this as well. It also appeared that, at least from the son's perspective, the thought of leaving Pittsburgh was not pleasant. (Apparently, he's never actually been to Phoenix in the winter.)
Somers reported that neither the Steelers nor the Packers had responded.
While Jurecki's tweet indicates that Horton is scheduled to be here in Phoenix tomorrow, I would be surprised if a decision has been made, especially since the team asked permission to speak to two other candidates.
Even more recently, Jason LaCanfora of NFL Network tweeted that Horton will be headed to Dallas to take a job with the Cowboys.
If in fact the Steelers have or are going to deny the Cardinals permission to speak to Butler, this is a change of heart, as it was just last week that it appeared that Butler would be the guy.
The Steelers in no way are obligated to allow Butler to interview because he is still under contract, but it is surprising still.
If Butler is out, then it would seem that the job would be wide open to a guy like Todd Bowles, who has already interviewed and was impressive.
It is my opinion that all this whirlwind of change could be good. Ken Whisenhunt has relied a lot on his Pittsburgh guys and understandably so. However, if we look at the Steelers connections, they have not all gone well. Joey Porter this past year and Bryant McFadden the year previous disappointed. Billy Davis had to be fired. Alan Faneca did okay, but was not dominant the way we all hoped he would be. Even Russ Grimm can be seen with an eye of doubt, considering the talent and performance on the offensive line. Bringing a guy like Bowles who does not already have a connection to Whiz and has the pedigree for success just might be the best way to go.