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Cardinals may fill defensive coordinator job from inside

Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt made the firing of defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast official Saturday, less than a week after the team played in the first Super Bowl in its history.

Pendergast was defensive coordinator for five years and one of two coaches retained when Whisenhunt became head coach two years ago.

“He was one of the guys retained from the previous staff and has done a good job,” Whisenhunt said in a statement released by the team. “But as part of the evaluation process that’s done after every season, I took a look at the last two years as a whole and felt this move was necessary to help us continue the progress we’ve made.”

Whisenhunt will consider candidates from his staff and outside the organization to replace Pendergast.

Linebackers coach Bill Davis is a strong candidate. His work over the past two years is highly regarded, and he was the 49ers coordinator in 2005 and 2006.

The Cardinals run a hybrid 3-4 scheme, and Davis has extensive experience, working under defensive coaches such as Dick LeBeau, Bill Cowher, Dom Capers and Mike Nolan.

If Davis is promoted, the Cardinals could move defensive assistant Matt Raich up to coach linebackers. Secondary coach Teryl Austin also could be a candidate for the coordinator’s job.

Whisenhunt is expected to try to interview Steelers linebacker coach Keith Butler. The Steelers denied Whisenhunt permission to interview Butler two years ago, and that could happen again, given that Butler remains under contract.

Whisenhunt also is looking for an offensive coordinator after Todd Haley left to become the Chiefs head coach. It’s likely he will fill that position with someone already on staff.

Ex-Falcon arrested

ATLANTA – Former Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson has been charged with felony cocaine possession and misdemeanor marijuana possession after being arrested at an Atlanta nightclub, authorities said Sunday.

Anderson, a fan favorite who created the “Dirty Bird” touchdown celebration dance, played eight seasons for the Falcons before leaving the team with a knee injury in 2001.

The Associated Press

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