Kliff Kingsbury was one of the first names we all heard about on NFL Black Monday. It wasn't as surprising as it was a sigh of relief for Arizona Cardinals fans who weren't happy with the team's direction in 2022. Apparently, 2023 will mark the beginning of a new chapter for the Cardinals, with Kingsbury fired and general manager Steve Keim moving on.
Ian Rapoport on Twitter: "From NFL Now: The #AZCardinals have fired coach Kliff Kingsbury. https://t.co/miBbLnxjFt" / Twitter
The team itself fell short of expectations on both sides of the ball. Kingsbury and franchise quarterback Kyler Murray were never really on the same page, and you could tell from the on-field product. Defensively speaking, the Cardinals fielded one of the worst units in the NFL. Opposing offenses scored at will against Arizona this past season. By the season's conclusion, the Cardinals were ranked 31st in points allowed and 32nd in touchdowns in the red zone allowed.
Thankfully, the 2022 campaign is at an end for the Cardinals. With their now-ex-head coach out, the organization can turn its attention to the NFL Draft, where they'll pick third overall.
So much wasted potential for Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals
When Kingsbury was hired in 2019, he was tasked with revitalizing and modernizing the Cardinals. This was particularly true on offense. Despite some flashes, the former Texas Tech head coach finished his Cardinals tenure with a 28-37-1 record. That's not exactly what ownership had in mind.
From 2019 to 2021, the Cardinals improved, and the team record speaks for itself. Kinsbury took his team from 5-11 in his first season to 11-6 the following year (2021), making the playoffs. Nonetheless, the Cardinals' season was always doomed. His tenure was marked by a decline in performance. The off-season drama surrounding Murray this past offseason didn't help.
A lack of talent wasn't an issue for Kliff Kingsbury
Overall, a lack of talent wasn't the issue. They were solid in past draft classes with Kingsbury at the helm. Murray, Isaiah Simmons, Zaven Collins, Rondale Moore, and Trey McBride headlined a notable foundation. Unfortunately, 2022 proved to be a challenge for the team's health. Murray being out for the last five games was likely the nail in the coffin for the Cardinals. Kingsbury also had to contend with missing DeAndre Hopkins for the year's first six games.
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In the end, Kingsbury wasn't modifying or adjusting his offense. Yes, Murray being out definitely hurt. Opposing defenses zeroed in on the Cardinals after a few games. The second-half collapses each season under Kingsbury finally caught up to him. It should be pointed out, though, that this roster still has a lot of potential.
Kliff Kingsbury wasn't able to capitalize on the potential, but it's still there.