Amongst all of the speculation that former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid had the job locked up in Arizona Cardinals, several facts went largely ignored.
Most significantly, perhaps, is the fact that the team quietly interviewed their current defensive coordinator Ray Horton to discuss the possibility of his promotion. While some speculated that this was merely a formality, to satisfy the so called Rooney Rule, and allow them to get on with the business at hand, namely interviewing and hiring Reid.
However, the Cardinals put paid to that idea scheduling an in-depth second day of interviews with Horton sandwiched between his interviews with the Cleveland Browns Thursday evening, and his scheduled visit with the Buffalo Bills later today.
According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, Horton's second day of interviews will be lengthy and in depth, the type which usually only take place if the team were very seriously considering offering someone the job.
Speculation was that the Cardinals were only willing to give Horton the job as a last resort to avoid losing him as defensive coordinator, and would offer the job to someone more experieced if they were confident he would remain a Coordinator for the next year or more, so this second round of somewhat hastily arranged interviews may indicate that interest from the Bills or Brown are more serious than some had considered, or that another unnamed team or teams have entered the pursuit for Horton's services.
The Cardinals do not yet seem ready to offer Horton the job outright, with interviews with Reid still on the table for as early as Thursday, and with team President Michael Bidwell still scheduled to visit Denver to interview Bronco's offensive coordinator Mike McCoy over the weekend. In addition, speculation that the Cardinals may wish to speak to Chip Kelly who is in currently in Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl, in which his Oregon Ducks are playing. Bidwell and Steve Keim have already visited with the team, though only to evaluate players at this point. Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh have both made the jump from college to the NFC West in recent years, and some consider a college coach a better option for Arizona, given the success of their division rivals.
Nonetheless, this second interview, which would likely be used to hammer our specifics of contract terms, would enable the Cardinals to jump in and beat either the Browns or Bills to the punch with no further interviews necessary, if they felt it was their only option.
Meanwhile, Ried has agreed to interview in Kansas City for their vacant head coaching position before traveling to Arizona to meet with the Cardinals, finally ending beyond any doubt the notion that his future with the franchise was already fixed.
Some believe that Kansas City is a better option for Reid, who would have the number one overall pick in 2013, and the finances available to completely rebuild the team in his own image.