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The Arizona Cardinals fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury after four seasons, and general manager Steve Keim announced his decision to resign from the team.
Arizona Cardinals @AZCardinals
According to ESPN Adam SchefterThe Cardinals made the move on Monday, just 10 months after he signed a contract extension for the 2027 season.
NFL networks Ian Rapoport he noted that it felt more like a mutual breakup as the relationship “didn’t work for either side”.
Arizona went 28-37-1 in four years on the sidelines. His resignation came after the team failed to meet expectations in 2022. The extent to which the 43-year-old’s ownership has deteriorated is evident in the fact that he signed a contract extension in March 2022.
The Washington PostJason La Canfora reported on December 6 that NFL executives “expect Arizona to have a new head coach next season.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Sunday that the Cardinals had not made a final decision on Kingsbury, but had “prepared in recent weeks for a potential coach search.”
Even if no course of action has been established so far, it certainly sends a message when an owner is already considering looking for a trainer before their current trainer even walks out the door.
In December, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Josh Weinfuss provided insight into the Cardinals’ drama, detailing how Kingsbury’s relationship with team owner Michael Bidwill, CEO Steve Keim and star quarterback Kyler Murray “has deteriorated to varying degrees over the last two years” .
The article quoted a source as saying Kingsbury could resign because he was ‘tired of BS’
Arizona took a giant leap of faith in Kingsbury when they hired him in 2019. He had never coached at the NFL level before and had a losing record (35-40) in the six years in charge of his alma mater, Texas Tech.
At least there was a method to this madness. Targeting a young, offensive head coach made sense for the franchise that would make Murray a future quarterback. Kingsbury, a student of distributed attack specialist Mike Leach, could theoretically use the 2019 number 1 special skill set to great effect.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Kingsbury’s tenure was similar to his time at Texas Tech; they steadily disappeared throughout the season.
Arizona opened 3-3-1 in 2019 and lost seven of their last nine games. This wasn’t too worrisome as no one was looking for results from him right away.
An overtime victory in Week 7 of the 2020 campaign seemed like a defining moment for the emerging team. Sitting at 5-2 heading into a farewell, the Cardinals finished 8-8 and missed the postseason.
Although they made the playoffs in 2021, losing four of their last five regular season games took the wind out of their sails. They continued for 183 yards in the NFC Wild Card Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Falls in Arizona in the second half happened too often to be coincidence.
Kingsbury also failed to make the Cardinals a dynamic offensive team. They ended 2022 in 30th place in terms of offensive effectiveness at the level Football outsiders.
This is partly due to Murray’s stagnant development even before he suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
As a rookie, the 5’10” signalman threw for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, finishing with a 57.7 QBR, according to Pro Football Reference.
In his fourth season, the 25-year-old threw for 2,368 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions for 51.1 QBR before suffering an ACL tear in Week 14.
Murray is a two-time Pro Bowler, so it’s not like he’s a complete flop. But he didn’t have the kind of breakthrough Josh Allen enjoyed in 2020, for example.
The blame for this, however, should not fall solely on Kingsbury.
The hastily removed “homework” clause in Murray’s $230.5 million five-year extension has raised some obvious questions about his level of commitment off the pitch.
Patrick Peterson gave a devastating assessment of his former Cardinals teammate All things covered podcast in November:
The consensus on Kingsbury may evolve over time if the same general issues with the Cardinals continue under the new coach.
For now, though, it’s hard to say he’s made the most of the list, and there’s been little indication from his career so far that a transformation is on the horizon.
Whoever replaces Kingsbury will have a serious challenge on their hands. Murray’s ACL injury will be maybe force him miss time in 2023 and it is not a foregone conclusion that he will retain the same explosiveness after recovery.
If Murray ultimately isn’t guy for the cardinals, this will have serious long-term consequences. They hold the #3 in the 2023 NFL Draft to find out what direction they want to go.