Kliff Kingsbury has lived a lot of life in the past forty days.
Kingsbury was fired by Texas Tech, his alma mater, after a 5-7 season marred by quarterback injuries and the worst on field luck possible for a coach in any profession. His 35-40 record also boasted a 3-22 record against teams ranked in the Top 25.
Kingsbury then took the Offensive Coordinator role at Southern California after being pursued by NFL interests and would have a chance to resuscitate the corpse of the Trojans offense. That probably should have been the end of the coaching carousel for Kingsbury, but the NFL had other plans as we now know.
The national sports media had a tepid response, at best, and even elicited a response from longtime hot take artist Dale Hansen of WFAA to claim the tired trope of so-called white privilege. Ryan Hyatt on his Wednesday periscope and on the new Talk 1340 said he didn’t think this could work in the desert for Kingsbury. All that to be said the hire makes sense to me and can succeed for three reasons.
First, it makes sense because the Air Raid or Run-Pass Option offenses are the predominant schemes in the NFL and the Arizona Cardinals are looking to capitalize on the talent of Josh Rosen with Kingsbury’s mind on offense. The NFL wanted Kingsbury as an offensive assistant right after his dismissal in November from Texas Tech.
If anything, Kingsbury could have had a decent season at 7-5 and still could have had suitors from the pros. History tells me that most front offices make these type of gambles on coaches when they’re desperate and behind the curve and the Cardinals are perpetually behind that curve.
Kliff can succeed having a front office to help with personnel issues and handling much of the administrative issues he had in Lubbock. No boosters and worrying about grades for his players allow him to focus on the X’s and O’s. With the Cardinals finishing 3-13 last season with much salary cap space and the number one pick in the upcoming NFL Draft they could bring some much needed talent Arizona.
The new hire of Vance Joseph as Defensive Coordinator and the rumored hiring of Steve Sarkisian as Offensive Coordinator brings some professional experience to his staff. Kingsbury’s biggest mistake in Lubbock were hiring his initial staff. Joseph is a great coordinator and has head coaching experience that Kingsbury can lean on and Sarkisian has experience as an OC in the NFL.
Will it work? Maybe. Fortune favors the bold and this is a bold move by franchise that needs some new ideas. If Marvin Lewis can make it in Cincinnati for as long as he did then Kliff has a puncher’s chance.
Special to The Raiderland by Allen Corbin