Arizona Cardinals Coaching Hires
The brass in Arizona did not wait very long to start getting their coaching lineup set for 2019. After some slight NCAA drama, Kliff Kingsbury was announced as the Cardinals head man going forward, and former Denver Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph has been named the defensive coordinator, returning to a position he’s familiar with. What should the Arizona faithful expect out of the new hires, and what could it mean for the Cardinals’ future, especially Josh Rosen?
Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury
Kingsbury does have 6 years of head coaching experience, which is the good news. The bad? Those 6 seasons were spent at Texas Tech, posting an overall record of 35-40. He posted two winning seasons, going 8-5 his first season in 2013, and 7-6 two seasons later. Hired for his supposed offensive acumen, he never surpassed 8 wins (which he again, only managed one time) in the defensive wasteland that is the Big 12 Conference.
More worrisome? He couldn’t manage to win with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. He also thought Davis Webb was a more competent player than Baker Mayfield, which led to Mayfield transferring to Oklahoma to win a Heisman and becoming the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Webb also transferred after becoming unhappy under Kingsbury, though that may be due to Mahomes’ unreal ability. Mahomes has spoken very highly of his former head coach, but Josh Rosen fans may have reason to worry.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, however, as proponents of this hire point to the passing outputs of his “air raid” schemes. Additionally, recruiting defensive players to the Big-12, especially Texas Tech, isn’t an easy thing to do, and many of his losses were due to his poor defense. Mayfield, Webb, and Mahomes all put up amazing numbers when they played. Those numbers are good to see, but it must also be considered that they came against other awful defenses in the conference, and the route concepts weren’t exactly NFL-caliber.
I wasn’t a particular fan of the Wilks hire last offseason, and this one doesn’t fill me with confidence either, but it does give me hope. Coaching isn’t all about the X’s and O’s, and wins and losses at previous stops do not equate to the same at the next stop. Coaching is about being a good leader, having honest communication with those around you, and getting a clear message across. By all accounts, Kingsbury shines in these areas. Also, he won’t be doing it all by himself.
Defensive Coordinator: Vance Joseph
Kingsbury’s defensive partner in crime is Denver’s former head coach Vance Joseph. Once again, a puzzling hire. Before his two seasons as the Broncos head man, posting a record of 11-21, he had just one season of experience coordinating a defense. That was with Miami in 2016, and that defense was mediocre. Before that, he has a lot of experience coaching defensive backs with a few different teams.
Coaching isn’t all about the X’s and O’s, and wins and losses at previous stops do not equate to the same at the next stop. Coaching is about being a good leader, having honest communication with those around you, and getting a clear message across.
While the optics aren’t the best, this has a chance to be a solid hire. Joseph is very well thought of in league circles, and is a professional. With Kingsbury being a younger coach, and a first-time NFL hire, having someone with experience as a coach and having had two feet in the big leagues for a while, Joseph may have been the best available option for this position.
Many pieces are already in place on this side of the ball, like Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones, and Budda Baker. With the first overall pick in the draft, it’s likely to be another pass rusher (early draftheads are saying Nick Bosa is the top guy for now) the defense should be set. Though, with all of the problems on the offensive line, investing a few picks there would make Rosen and David Johnson’s lives a LOT easier.
Early reviews (like this one) for coaching spots are always hit-or-miss, but there’s a baseline for expectations that can always be set. It will be very difficult for 2019 to go any worse than 2018!