John Lott was fired only Friday. Come Tuesday, the fourth of March, the Cardinals found his replacement. Buddy Morris has a long and distinguished career, which dates back to his start in 1980, with the University of Pittsburgh. He had three stints there, from ’80-’90, ’97-01, and ’07-’10. He was on the coaching staff of the Cleveland Browns from 2001 to 2006, before being fired, being hired by the University of Buffalo, only to leave six months later and pursue his third stint with the Pitt Panthers.
Following the Panthers 2010 season, Dave Wannstedt, the head coach, was dismissed, as was the entirety of his staff. Morris had been out of coaching until January, when the University of Buffalo sought out Morris to become their new strength and conditioning coach. Two months later, he’s now in the desert. If you did not know, Bruce Arians likes to hire people he has a history with. Morris plays into this because the two spent time together in Cleveland.
Morris is a big guy on technique, as this article from January 14th points out.
“I truly, truly understand that training is a long-term process. I have no quick fixes. We’re going to take our time. I’m a fanatic on technique. I’m a fanatic on the little things. The game’s still a game of discipline and it starts in the weight room.”
Morries does not see himself as a strength and conditioning coach, but the coach of “Physical Preparation”. He is thought of as one of the 65 most influential strength coaches ever, and many of his peers see him as the best strength coach no one has ever heard of.
If you were doubting his ability, there are two excellent examples of his ability to rehab a player, and make them better. First is Nate Eachus, the former All-American runningback from Colgate University. Eachus was suffering from multiple injuries, including depression and a separated pelvis. His confidence was gone and he had hope in reaching his dream of playing in the NFL. Two years later, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs.
We all know Tony Siragusa as the former NFL defensive tackle, who became a super bowl champion, and finally a sideline reporter for Fox Sports. In his book “Goose”, he had this to say about Buddy Williams.
“Morris built my legs up so strong that I didn’t need an ACL,” Siragusa writes. “My hamstrings and soft tissue worked so well that they stabilized my knee.”
It appears that Arizona has found a guy who can build up the numerous players who suffered from their season ending injuries both physically and mentally.
As a side note, the Cardinals have signed John Estes. Estes, a undrafted free agent in 2010, signed with the Jaguars and spent his rookie season on the injured reserve list. In 2011, he appeared in two games, and in 2012 he was again on the injured reserve list. He spent the 2013 season looking for work.
Estes was a four year starter at the University of Hawaii, a three time All-WAC Performer. He set NCAA records for most consecutive game started, and games played (54).
Estes is likely nothing more than a camp body, or someone to fight to make the final 53, depending on how the Draft shapes up for the Cardinals.
Phoenix Sports-Kings Contributor Alex Mann @mannrotb