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Could Bruce Arians return to the Colts?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Lombardi, former league executive and current writer for The Ringer, reported big news on Twitter regarding Bruce Arians:

Arians spent the past five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, amassing a 47-30-1 record with one game left to be played. Under his leadership, the Cardinals made two playoff appearances and went to the NFC Championship in 2015. He sent many players to the Pro Bowl and is credited with turning around Carson Palmer's career.

Arians had two stints with the Colts: as the quarterbacks coach from 1998 to 2000 and as the offensive coordinator and interim head coach in 2012. As the quarterbacks coach, he helped develop Peyton Manning in the early portion of his career. As the offensive coordinator and interim head coach, Arians teamed up with Andrew Luck to turn the woeful Colts into a contender.

After Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer and had to take a leave, Arians took over and went 9-3 with the Colts, leading them to a wildcard spot in the playoffs. The Colts offense was one of the best in football that season.

Arians is an aggressive, offensive-minded coach. One of Arians' favorite phrases is "no risk it, no biscuit," which perfectly sums up his style of football. He has an Air Coryell-style offense that likes to air out the ball several times a game. His offense is known for taking deep shots down the field, which makes having a quarterback with a big arm and speedy receivers very important.

In his years with Arians, Palmer averaged 37 attempts per game. During the 2012 season with Arians, Luck averaged 39 attempts per game. If you’re going to throw the ball that often, you have to place an emphasis on the offensive line. To compound the important of the line, a lot of Arians' plays require 5 and 7-step drops from the quarterback.

During his time with Arizona, the Cardinals spent big money on Jared Veldheer and invested a high draft pick in D.J. Humphries to solidify the tackle position. In 2013, the Cardinals even spent the 7th overall pick on Jonathan Cooper, an offensive guard.

With Arians reportedly set to depart Arizona and Chuck Pagano all but gone in Indianapolis, would an Arians return to Indianapolis be in the cards? Arians knows the Irsays and there are still players on the roster who were with the team in 2012. Andrew Luck, TY Hilton, Anthony Castonzo, and Adam Vinatieri were all a part of that team.

It would certainly help that three key pieces of the Colts offense would all be familiar with his offensive style if he did return to Indianapolis. He is well-liked by his players, was beloved in Arizona, and could be an easy transition from another coach who is popular with his players.

The big question is: does Arians even want to continue coaching or is he hanging it up? In his Football Life (NFL Network series), he said that the Cardinals would be his last coaching job. However he said the same thing after the Steelers let him go. If there was interest in Indianapolis to reunite him with Andrew Luck, I imagine he would have to think about it really hard before he moved on. It’s not hard to think that having him step back in as head coach for the Colts could be easy transition or a perfect marriage.


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