The Arizona Cardinals aren’t even one year removed from hiring Steve Wilks, who went one-and-done after engineering a three-win campaign that was highlighted by the league’s worst offense. Now, the team is overcompensating with the reported impending hire of former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Peter Schrager of Fox Sports reported Tuesday afternoon that the Cardinals are finalizing a deal with Kingsbury to become their next head coach.
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) January 8, 2019
The obvious draw here is that Kingsbury is viewed by many to be an offensive genius. He helmed an offense at Texas Tech that put up jaw-dropping passing stats on an annual basis and helped Patrick Mahomes become the No. 10 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The problematic aspect here is that Kingsbury has never been able to parley his so-called offensive genius into very much winning. During his tenure with the Red Raiders, they went 35-40, had just two winning seasons and went 1-2 in bowl games. Furthermore, both winning seasons occurred early in his tenure. Kingsbury went 16-21 the past three seasons, and his lone bowl win was back in 2013, his first year at the helm.
An NFL head coach has to be so much more than a brilliant playcaller. He has to be able to do so much more than just scheme up a brilliant offense — something that Kingsbury hasn’t proved he can do at the NFL level, let’s not forget.
An NFL head coach has to be able to manage every player and assistant coach he’s responsible for. He has to be able to show leadership and accountability. He has to be able to make tough choices under pressure.
Keep hearing all about scheme, scheme scheme. Tell me about leadership, accountability and culture!
— Mike McCartney (@MikeMcCartney7) January 8, 2019
Kingsbury’s legacy so far is that he ran off Baker Mayfield, and that he did an adequate job of squeezing talent out of Mahomes — who’s absolutely exploded now that he has some NFL-caliber coaching backing him up.
The Cardinals might end up becoming an amazing team under his guidance. They’re risking it all on that gamble. But for my money this is much more likely to end up becoming a cautionary tale. Not every young offensive mind has the ability to do what Sean McVay is doing in Los Angeles.
Personally, I won’t be surprised whatsoever if Arizona is right back to square one in a season or two, once again participating in the head coaching carousel that spins like crazy every single year in the NFL.