clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

It’s over: The Kliff Kingsbury era ended Sunday

It might not happen this week or even this month, but yesterday’s brutal loss to the Seahawks is likely the last nail in Kliff Kingsbury’s coffin.

Syndication: Arizona Republic
One day soon, Vance Joseph might be coaching this team (temporarily) instead of Kliff Kingsbury.
Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

I don’t know when exactly it will happen, but it’s coming soon.

The Cardinals are going to fire Kliff Kingsbury. It’s fait accompli at this point. There is no chance we enter the 2023 season with him still at the helm.

Although they probably should, I don’t think they fire him this week. (The Hard Knocks premiere probably doesn’t factor into the decision, but the timing certainly isn’t ideal.) Looking at the schedule, we have three more games — Rams, Niners, Chargers — before the bye. Lose two or even three of those and that’d probably be the time to let him go and give the interim guy (Vance, right?) a couple weeks to acclimate.

That seems to be the most likely time the team will make a move. But then I think back to that awful 2018 season under Steve Wilks. It was clear from the first month or so that he was in over his head, but the team let him play out the season, only offering Mike McCoy as a sacrificial lamb after that 45-10 lambasting by the Broncos. So maybe he lasts until the end of the season.

But whenever they actually fire him, it’s clear that his time in the desert is coming to an end. Yesterday’s embarrassing home loss to the Seahawks was the final nail in his (very stylish and expensive) coffin.

We were favored at home against a team that quite frankly has less talent than we do in a game we absolutely had to have … and yet we came out unprepared and undisciplined. We couldn’t get out of our own way with inexcusable penalties and stupid turnovers. The offense was utterly predictable and woefully inefficient (to say nothing of the defense that has finally cratered). And, most obviously, the Cardinals were outcoached in every phase of the game all afternoon. The whole staff needs to go, Kliff first and foremost.

The issues that plagued us yesterday were nothing new, and are indicative of Kliff’s inability to grow and adapt as a head coach.

  • The loss dropped us to 1-4 at home this season. We’re now 1-9 in our last 10 home games, and we’re just 10-19 at home during Kliff’s tenure. Remember when we used to have a real home field advantage?
  • We had a whopping 12 penalties for 77 yards. We’re now #3 in the league in penalties and have been in the top-5 every year under Kliff.
  • Kyler gained only 175 yards on his 35 pass attempts—a putrid 5.0 YPA. Despite having one of the strongest arms in the league, his career YPA is a middling 7.1. (And note that Geno Smith had 8.1 YPA on a similar 34 attempts.)
  • We actually did (finally) score a TD on our opening possession, but the trend of slow offensive starts continued—we didn’t score another offensive point until there were under four minutes to go in the game.

In all honesty, WE looked like the team that was supposed to be rebuilding—deer-in-the-headlights head coach, checkdown-happy QB, mental mistake after mental mistake, sieve of a defense. Yet this is the fourth year of the soon-to-be-canceled “Kliff and Kyler Show.”

Cardinals fans have to be hoping for two things at this point:

  1. That Kliff hasn’t irreparably damaged Kyler’s long-term potential. Because our QB isn’t going anywhere, for better or worse. Hopefully the next guy can fix what damage Kliff and his rinky-dink scheme has done.
  2. That GM Steve Keim is soon to follow Kliff out the door. I’ll have more thoughts on Keim at a future date, but GMs who hire the likes of Steve Wilks and Kliff Kingsbury shouldn’t get to make any more hires. To say nothing of the guy who hands out extensions to the likes of Kliff and Keim, but there’s REALLY nothing that can be done about that.

Speaking of which, it’s possible—likely, in fact—that neither Kliff nor Keim will even be around when those extensions were supposed to kick in. With his team in shambles, Hard Knocks and its cameras coming to town, and major decisions looming, this might just be the most trying period for Michael Bidwill since he took over the team. Especially when considering the (somewhat delusional) high expectations heading into this season.

Let’s just hope he has learned something from the Kliff Kingsbury era. And that the inevitable rebuild/”retool” goes as well as it is going for our rivals from the PNW.