To say the Cardinals coaching staff as it stands now is young and inexperienced is a massive understatement.
However, coach Jonathan Gannon not only isn’t bothered by it, he embraces it with confidence and belief. Of course, that’s what he has to do, jumping in feet first while knowing these decisions will be crucial in how the team performs in his first opportunity as a head coach.
Still, the numbers jump off the page when realizing how green the coaches are on offense and defense.
After officially announcing numerous additions to the staff this week, the nine offensive coaches total 34 seasons of NFL coaching experience while five are younger than 40 years old.
On defense, eight coaches total a mere 15 years of NFL experience and six are under 40.
When defensive coordinator Nick Rallis was introduced to the media recently, Gannon was asked about the youth of his coordinators, and he asked Rallis, “What’s my quote that I use?”
To which Rallis answered, “Experience is not synonymous with knowledge.”
Gannon concluded, “I’m really not worried about their age. I’m worried about if they can serve the players and get the job done.”
He went deeper into the subject during a recent interview with Peter King of nbcsports.com, who asked about his “conviction” with Rallis and offensive coordinator Drew Petzing.
“One hundred percent convicted,” he said. “You know, I talked about in the interview and the other guys that I interviewed for those jobs were all on the younger side, too, probably. One defensive guy was a little bit older. Age isn’t a prerequisite for firepower. I’ve always thought that. When we got to Philly, we had the youngest staff in the NFL. There’s a reason that our [players] ran into the building to come to work. I love that.
“I’m gonna have some guys with major, major experience worked into the staff because I value that, too. But as far as who’s running the offense and the defense, age was never a factor for me; what was in their brain and what was in their heart is. It’s capacity and character. That’s what I’m looking for in a staff.”
While it’s still only early March and the staff might not be totally complete, that “major, major experience” Gannon referenced doesn’t exist, at least from a NFL perspective.
Strangely, the oldest offensive and defensive coaches have a grand total of one season in the NFL.
Running backs coach Autry Denson is 46, has never coached in the NFL, and coached for 13 college seasons including the last four as head coach at Charleston Southern. At 48, defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc is the oldest coach on offense and defense. He has coached for 22 seasons in college and was the Dolphins’ assistant defensive line coach last season.
Of all the offensive and coaches, Petzing and tight ends coach Ben Steele have the most NFL coaching seasons with nine.
Notably, there are 10 coaches that have either one or no seasons in the NFL.
Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing: 35 (36 on March 12); nine NFL seasons
Offensive line coach Klayton Adams: 40; four NFL seasons
Assistant offensive line coach Chris Cook: 41; one NFL season
Quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork: 32; one NFL season as Browns minority coaching fellowship
Running backs coach Autry Denson: 46; no NFL seasons
Receivers coach Drew Terrell (also passing game coordinator): 31 (32 on July 25); five NFL seasons
Passing game specialist Spencer Whipple (retained): 33 (34 on March 18; four NFL seasons
Tight ends coach Ben Steele: 44 (45 on May 27); nine NFL seasons
Offensive quality control coach Connor Senger (retained): age unknown but final year in college was 2017; one NFL season as Cardinals minority coaching fellowship
Defensive coordinator Nick Rallis: 29 (30 on July 13); five NFL seasons
Defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc: 48 (49 on May 6); one NFL season
Assistant defensive line coach William Peagler: 37 (38 on April 27); no NFL seasons
Linebackers coach Sam Siefkes: 31 (32 on Aug. 26); two NFL seasons
Outside linebackers coach Rob Rodriguez: 41; five NFL seasons
Defensive backs coach Patrick Toney: 32 (33 on March 14); no NFL seasons
Cornerbacks coach Ryan Smith: 32; no NFL seasons
Defensive quality control coach Ronald Booker (retained): 30 (31 on June 10); two NFL seasons
Assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers: 45; 19 NFL seasons
Assistant special teams coach Sam Sewell: 34; no NFL seasons
Strength and conditioning
Head strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris (retained): 65; 21 NFL seasons
Assistant strength and conditioning coach Mark Naylor (retained): 42; three NFL seasons
Director football strategy
Kenny Bell: 34; one NFL season
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