Ben McAdoo, left, and Steve Sarkisian, right. (AP photos)
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury will call plays for the Arizona Cardinals, but he said at his introductory press conference Wednesday that building an experienced staff around him will be key in shaping his Air Raid principles around the NFL game.
“We’re not worried about who we know as much as getting the best guy in here and getting the best coach in here, and I think that’s the best way to do it,” Kingsbury told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday.
The first names linked to the Cardinals’ job openings on the offensive side of the ball reflect that.
Ben McAdoo, former New York Giants head coach
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports that former New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo will interview for a spot on Kingsbury’s staff.
The 41-year-old McAdoo brings NFL head-coaching experience, as he led the Giants to a 13-15 record from 2016-17. The two seasons before he was promoted, he served as offensive coordinator under head coach Tom Coughlin.
McAdoo served as the Green Bay Packers’ tight ends coach from 2012-13 and the following two years was Aaron Rodgers’ quarterbacks coach. He also has experience as an offensive line coach with the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, something that could be beneficial to Arizona’s most problematic position group heading into the offseason.
Steve Sarkisian, former Atlanta Falcons OC
Sirius XM NFL Radio’s Alex Marvez reported that Steve Sarkisian has spoken with Arizona.
Before serving as offensive coordinator for the Falcons, Sarkisian was an offensive analyst for Nick Saban’s Alabama program (2016) and USC’s head coach (2014-15). He was previously the Washington Huskies’ head coach (2009-13) and between stints as an assistant at USC prior to that (2001-03, 2005-08) had experience as quarterbacks coach of the Oakland Raiders (2004).
Sarkisian is also under consideration for the Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator opening.
Jake Spavital, Texas State head coach
According to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, Kingsbury and the Cardinals are interested in Texas State head coach Jake Spavital for the team’s offensive coordinator opening. Spavital was named Texas State’s head coach on Nov. 28, 2018, and spent the 2018 season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for West Virginia under coach Dana Holgorsen.
The 33-year-old Spavital worked with Kingsbury on the Houston staff in 2009, when Spavital was a graduate assistant and Kingsbury was an offensive quality control coach.
Spavital succeeded Kingsbury as Texas A&M co-offensive coordinator in 2013, directing an Air Raid offense while working under Kevin Sumlin, who is now the Arizona Wildcats’ head coach.
Stump Mitchell, New York Jets running backs coach
ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported a day earlier that Arizona asked permission to speak with Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell.
It’s unclear exactly which positions the duo would interview for, but they undoubtedly have their strengths.
Mitchell would bring familiarity with Cardinals running back David Johnson after serving as Arizona’s running backs coach from 2013-16.
David Raih, Green Bay Packers wide receivers coach
Arizona is also hoping to speak with former Packers receivers coach David Raih, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.
Raih, 39, has been with Green Bay since 2014 and held jobs as a coaching administrator (he worked primarily with QB Aaron Rodgers), assistant offensive line coach and offensive perimeter coach. He worked under Kingsbury in 2013 as Texas Tech’s director of high school relations.
Mike McDaniel, 49ers run game coordinator
Arizona sought to get a word in with San Francisco 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniels but was denied that request by his current employer, reports The Athletic’s Matt Barrows.
McDaniel has experience working for 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan dating back to his days with the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins. With Washington from 2011-13), he also was on the same staff as Rams head coach Sean McVay.