After a disappointing 4-13 2022 campaign, the Arizona Cardinals have decided to leave head coach Kliff Kingsbury of his duties.
Kingsbury finishes his four-year tenure in Arizona with a 28-37-1 record.
He was hired ahead of the 2019 season from the college football ranks. Prior to his time with the Cardinals, he spent six years leading the Texas Tech football program, compiling a record of 35-40 in that time.
Lack Of Discipline
In the NFL, it’s hard enough to beat teams that are just as talented and as well schooled as you are. That task becomes infinitely more difficult to achieve when self-inflicted mistakes take place, and put the objective further out of reach.
During Kingsbury’s time with the Cardinals, they were one of the highest penalized teams in the NFL. During the 2022 regular season, Arizona led the NFL with 118 infractions on offense. Last season, they finished with the fourth highest total in the league, and led the league in offensive penalties again in 2020.
Kingsbury was brought on to deliver a refined and polished offensive attack, and that level of sloppiness just wasn’t going to get things done. For better or for worse, penalty sample sizes over the course of a season usually point back to a head coach that is running an operation that isn’t paying close enough attention to the details.
Had Kingsbury received his first NFL head coaching gig with a different team, it’s possible that things end up differently. It’s easy to say that in retrospect, but the former collegiate coach really was dealt a pretty difficult hand with regards to the opponents he would have to consistently face at the professional ranks.
Throughout the course of his tenure with the Cardinals, he had to face Pete Carroll, Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay a total of six times every regular season. Those three head coaches are widely viewed as elite, and they are seldom going to be outsmarted by their opposite number. Carroll brings a unique energy to the sideline that keeps his players motivated regardless of who’s able to suit up for the Seattle Seahawks. McVay and Shanahan have distinguished resumes as assistant coaches who worked their way up, and bring effective wrinkles to gameplans with their creativity and experience.
Kingsbury was thrown into the gauntlet right away, and proved to have few answers against masters of their craft.
Kingsbury is only 43 years old, and still has a lot of time in the game ahead of him. At this point and time, it doesn’t feel like he’s going to be offered an opportunity to remain in the professional ranks, unless he wants to work as a quarterback coach.
His best bet for another high profile job might be in college, where he was the leader of some impressive passing offenses with the Red Raiders program. Kingsbury’s style might be better suited for younger players who need strict guidance, rather than NFL players who might desire a hands off approach.