In my opinion, one of the key table setting moments during the week prior to the Cardinals’ 42-34 win over the Saints was Kyler Murray confiding to the media that “It’s not the system. Guys are open.”
In another salient moment, Kliff Kingsbury told the media that he would be willing to hand the play calling duties over to one of his assistants if “it helps the team score more points and win.”
These were humble reckonings by the Cardinals’ under-achieving QB/HC duo.
As they say, in order to solve a problem, the first step is to identify and admit to the the reality of the problem.
Perhaps by then, Kyler and Kliff had become privy to the national media’s take on the Cardinals’ offensive woes —- how Jason LaConfora asserted that the Kyler and Kliff show was no longer working —- how Steve Young described the Cardinals current offensive philosophy as a “WING IT” sandlot sh^t show —- how Mina Kimes opined, after her Seahawks dominated the Cardinals, that it doesn’t appear as if Kliff and Kyler do their homework with regard to where opposing defenses are vulnerable —- how Dan Orlovsky described the Cardinals’ offense as having “no structure, no rhythm.”
A breaking point between the QB and the head coach appeared to occur during the Saints’ game when Kyler, after hearing Kliff Kingsbury, with the play clock approaching zero, urge him to hurry up and snap the ball. The Cardinals called timeout and Kyler, un-helmeted by now, stormed toward Kliff screaming “Calm the F^CK down” numerous times in a row, each scream seeming louder than the last.
True to form, Kliff Kingsbury showed admirable humility in the face of getting cussed out on national TV. He let Kyler vent. After the game Kliff mitigated the altercation by describing it as a simple “difference of opinion.”
The return of WR DeAndre Hopkins came at precisely the right time. Not only for giving Kliff, Kyler and the offense a much needed boost in energy, versatility and confidence, but in the manner in which Hopkins calmed and settled Kyler down, all the while assuring Kliff that everything was going to be fine.
We learned after the game from D-Hop that during the short prep week he called for a players-only meeting. D-Hop told Tony Gonzalez, Andrew Whitworth, Richard Sherman and the Amazon Prime panel that he did this because he wanted Kyler to be the first to address the team, then he wanted Budda Baker to follow.
D-Hop said that he and Kyler are always in constant communication and that the nature of their talks are always very positive. He implied that being very positive is the only way to combat the naysayers, cynics and critics.
You might recall, however, that this wasn’t the first players-only meeting this season.
Credit Kliff Kingsbury’s instincts for asking the players to take command of the team’s situation, because previously at the half-time of the Raiders game with the team off to another disappointing first half performance, Kliff summoned his coaches to walk with him back to the sidelines in order to let the players figure out the solutions.
Perhaps by now the Cardinals should make players-only meetings a weekly habit. Those meetings have spawned the Vegas Miracle and the State Farm Reclamation.
After the Cardinals breakthrough win at home, Arizona Sports radio host and op-ed writerDan Bickley urged the Cardinals to make Spencer Whipple the play caller right away —-that a new voice in Kyler’s helmet is needed —-as is a fresh approach. I find this idea intriguing, don’t you?
After all, Kliff has already said he would be open to anything that would help the offense score more points and that would help the team win.
But, before we offer our opinions as to whether the Cardinals should hand Kliff’s play sheet over to Whip, let’s take a close look at Kurt Warner’s outstanding #StudyBall video analysis of the Cardinals’ passing offense versus the Saints.
Do yourself and all Cardinals’ coaches, players and fans a favor by investing your full attention in this 24 minute video. For those of you who make the investment, please answer some or all of the questions to follow.