A day in the life of Ray Horton

It’s early morning, still dark.  I’m already at my office in Tempe.  I’m excited and scared.  Just two days ago — gawd, seems longer than that —  I was named defensive coordinator of the Cardinals.  That’s good.  I’m going to make a lot more money than I was with the Steelers.  On the other side, I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a coordinator.  I’ve never been one before.  Hell, I’m almost 51.  I know what the critics say about me, that I’m a risky hire.  I know that.  I know there was not much of a selection process.  I feel like my name was just picked out of a hat, that I got this job just because I was a Steelers coach and the head man here, Mike, I mean Kenny, uh Coach, loves everything Steelers.  He’s kind of crazy that way, but he’s given me a shot.

And what about the owners, the Bidwills, or is it Bidwells?  Are they going to spend the jack to get me some decent players?  I hear scary stories about them.  This ain’t Pittsburgh.  Hope the Rooneys, no dammit, the Bidwills, know that.  We need lots of help out here.

But I know this. I am going to work my buns off to be a success.  Running scared is a good way to approach any new job, they say.  That’s me, I’m scared.  I don’t want to fail.  So here I am, breaking down film, trying to get this nomenclature stuff done so I can send it out to the players before the CBA deadline.  March 4,   I’ve got that date circled on my calendar.  Gonna circle it again.  Yeh, a double-circle.

There’s a another number I got circled.  It’s not on a calendar.  It’s ingrained in my head.  It’s on a jersey.  Number 24.  Gonna double-circle that one too.   Adrian Wilson.  If I’m going to be a success here, I’ve got to find a way to use his talents better than the last coordinator did.   I’ve got a long list of things to do, but someway very soon, everyday really, I’ve got to work on Adrian.  Does he still have it?  He made All-Pro last year, but Coach told me he didn’t deserve it.  If anyone did it was Kerry Rhodes. 

Lots of negativity.  Got to put it aside.  Then again, what about the corn-rows?  I’m worn the rows for a while now.  But this is the West.  This is, for god’s sake, Arizona.  Not too many blacks out here.  And the white folks?  They’re pretty strange.  Carrying heat into the capitol!  And all those crazy laws.  I know.  Can’t worry about them.  But maybe I should lose the rows.  Maybe the white players will take it wrong.  But really, there’s not that many of them. 

And the fans?  I hear most of ’em don’t know squat about football.  Not like they do in Steelerland, anyway.  But how long can you pull wool over their eyes?   Surely they see by now we have a ton of holes to fill, that without Warner they wouldn’t have won diddle.

Yeah, lots of problems.  Linebackers?  I need linebackers, a good pass rusher, another corner.  I don’t know if Toler can cut it at corner.  And I’ve got to toughen up DRC.  Jeez, there’s so much to do, so little time.  It’s starting to jumble up on me. 

Keep cool, keep cool.  One step at a time.  But Adrian.  I’ve got to work on Adrian.  He was a game-wrecker several seasons ago.  If we’re going to run an attacking defense, he’s going to have to get more involved.  Forget that old system.  Bend but don’t break, that  isn’t the way we Steelers do it.  Oh, here I go again, thinking I’m still Pittsburgh.


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