Former Palisade High School Football Prospect Ben Steele Joins the Arizona Cardinals Coaching Staff

The Arizona Cardinals’ reshuffle of its coaching staff has seen former Palisade High School football graduate and NFL tight end Ben Steele join their roster. The 44-year-old, who left Palisade High to join Mesa State in 1999, was undrafted in the 2001 NFL Draft. However, he featured in offseason and practice squads for no less than six NFL franchises throughout his career, which also included a spell with Frankfurt Galaxy in the World Football League.

Steele’s coaching career has been just as fruitful as his playing career. After spells with Mesa State, Colorado, California and UC Davis, Steele was eventually recruited by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014, where he worked as an offensive quality control coach and latterly a tight ends coach.

He’s since held positions with Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, and Denver Broncos as recently as 2022. Steele’s appointment with the Cardinals is seen as him being a direct replacement for Steve Heiden, who left Arizona for the Detroit Lions, coached by Dan Campbell.

Steele is part of a brand new Cardinals backroom team

The Cardinals have their own new head coach in the shape of Jonathan Gannon. He, alongside offensive coordinator Drew Petzing, have set about reshaping the backroom staff and Steele arrives alongside plenty of NFL experience.

The Cardinals are something of a work in progress right now. In fact, they could be considered one of the ultimate projects for any coaching staff in the NFL, considering the low expectations of Arizona for the 2023-24 NFL season.

In fact, the Cardinals have the joint-highest odds to win the 2024 Super Bowl. Arizona and Houston are tied at a best price of +20000 with DraftKings to lift the Lombardi Trophy next year. Those odds might sound outlandish, but they are priced up by one of the most competitive online sportsbooks in the US market. This operator is currently the number-one most recommended site by OddsChecker based on the caliber of its promotions, its user experience and the depth of its betting markets.

The Cardinals have two NFL championships to their name, although these titles were won prior to the AFL-NFL merger, demonstrating how long it has been since Cardinals fans have had much to shout about. With only five postseason playoff appearances since the turn of the new millennium, Arizona is rarely in the Super Bowl conversation. However, this does give Gannon, Steele and co. plenty of upside and minimal downside to work with.

Arizona’s general manager, Monti Ossenfort, was a busy man as the Cardinals set about rebuilding their roster for the next season in the 2023 NFL Draft. With substantial upgrades to the offensive line required – underlining the importance of Steele’s arrival – the likes of Paris Johnson Jr., Michael Wilson, and Jon Gaines II were recruited from Ohio State, Stanford and UCLA, respectively.

Steele and co. have their work cut out in 2023-24

Despite these new recruits, Pro Football Focus, which analyses NFL and college football across the US, deems the Cardinals’ roster as the worst in the entire NFL. This is further proof that the sportsbooks’ traders have their ears close to the ground on the industry’s opinions on teams across the league.

Arizona won just four of their regular season games last season and Pro Football Focus has projected them as underdogs in every single contest in their 2023-24 schedule. All of which goes to demonstrate the challenge Ben Steele faces in improving the efficiency of Arizona’s offensive line.

Cardinals fans will be praying for a fit and firing Kyler Murray for the 2023-24 season. Murray is Arizona’s starting quarterback and arguably their only marquee name since he bagged the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2019. Murray endured a difficult 2022-23 season, posting his lowest completed passes and almost half the completed passing yards thrown in the 2020-21 season (3,971 yards).

Away from gridiron, Steele also plays an active role in the Play The Next Play Foundation. In fact, Steele founded the NPO, which focuses on raising awareness and supporting servicemen and women from the US armed forces in the next stage of their lives as veterans.

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