The Arizona Cardinals have a new general manager in Monti Ossenfort, and perhaps he wasn't the first candidate on everybody's mind to take over the seat of Steve Keim after ten years of service.
It was even reported the Cardinals initially offered the job to Chicago Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham before he declined.
Yet Tuesday morning we found ourselves sitting in a room with nearly every prominent media member/outlet covering the team, listening to Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill introduce their newest front office leader in Ossenfort.
It was clear that Ossenfort was organized, thorough and motivated to turn around a deeply disappointing Arizona football team that went just 4-13 on the season.
“The little things make all the difference, because the little things stack and stack and stack and lead to the big things. As that pertains to our roster building process, this is going to be an extensive process," Ossenfort told reporters.
"It’s going to start over a year in advance of the next year's draft. There's going to be checkpoints along the way that we are going to use traditional scouting methods. We are going to use analytical scouting methods and we are going to every step of the way check our work, make sure we're not missing something and continue to add competition to this roster at every opportunity that we have during the league year.”
Ossenfort has quite the plate to digest: Over 30 players are set to hit free agency, the Cardinals still need a head coach, and a potential cornerstone player awaits them with the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Ossenfort has previous experience building successful rosters with the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans, and there's hope that can bleed into the desert:
“There's processes that I believe in. There are systems in terms of how we evaluate players. I would say there's systems in place of how we value players in terms of a monetary component. I think overall it's just a general overall feel how the building works. I think that's an important component," said Ossenfort.
"I think having everyone on the same page in terms of knowing their role and knowing how their job contributes to us having success is of utmost importance. How I present that and the processes of how we do some of the things that we do along the way may be similar to the places that I've been in the past, but the way I do it and the way I ask people to go about their work—I believe that's where my spin comes into play.”
Part of that spin includes four Super Bowl wins with New England. Many teams have tried to emulate what has been deemed the "Patriot Way" with very little success outside of the organization.
Ossenfort hopes to break that trend.
"I think the big thing on that is a complete organizational alignment in what exactly it is that we're trying to do. That goes through all levels of football operations. That's a clear definition of not only what we're looking for in players, but what we're looking for in staff," he said.
"What is asked of each individual person, what their role contributes to us winning games and that permeates all levels of the organization. If your job is to catch touchdown passes or if your job is to tape ankles, to scout players, or to prepare the food—every job is important. Getting everybody on the same page and moving in that direction is the key of what I believe was a huge part of those successful New England teams.”
"There are core beliefs that I believe I will take from there as I will take from every step along my way that I plan to bring here, put my own spin on it and make it the Cardinal way."
Time will tell what exactly that Cardinal way is and how it functions compared to previous regimes. Yet for now, there's hope that Ossenfort can play a role in helping Arizona get back on track.