When I was serving as the English Department chair at Foxborough High School, the main question I would ask myself when observing teachers’ classes was: would I want my daughter to take this class?
It was as simple as that.
Since the late season meltdown last year and with all of the turmoil that is going on behind the scenes for the Arizona Cardinals this season, I have been asking myself the following questions:
1 —- Would I want one of my football players to have Steve Keim as his GM?
2 —- Would I want my players to play for Kliff Kingsbury?
3 —- Would I want to coach Kyler Murray?
4 —- Would I want my defensive players to play for Vance Joseph?
5 —- Would I want my special teams players to play for Jeff Rodgers?
6 —- Would I want my players to play on the same team as Budda Baker and JJ Watt?
Simple Answers? Actually, pretty much.
1 —- Steve Keim: No. He lacks class and integrity.
2 —- Kliff Kingsbury. Yes, particularly if Kliff gets to be himself and run his own offense.
3 —- Kyler Murray. No. He’s too selfish and ineffective as a leader.
4 —- Vance Joseph. No. I like the man, but I don’t like vulnerable aspects of his schemes.
5 —- Jeff Rodgers. No. His handling of the kicking and return games has cost the team too many games.
6 —- A million times Yes. What a privilege that would be for any players to have the opportunity to have Budda Baker and JJ Watt as teammates.
What I Would Like to See Happen for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023:
Leeski and I have been having some profound conversations about the GM position and one point that Leeski makes that has resonated with me is how important it is for Michael Bidwill to have complete trust in his GM.
After considering a number of potential GM candidates, Leeski and I concur that the three men who may best fit the criteria are: (in alphabetical order)
All three of these candidates have spent considerable time in the Cardinals’ organization. I believe that Malik Boyd, who was an award winning scout for the Cardinals during the Cardinals most winningest stretch from 2006-2017, would appear to be the most qualified, particularly in light of his success in helping the Bills turn their program around.
Just the same, I am a big fan of Quentin Harris and Adrian Wilson. While Harris has more years of experience and leadership within the scouting department, Adrian Wilson has the “star” factor and the “street cred” that can inspire coaches and players to want to be on his team.
When Dave Pasch invited Quentin Harris as a guest on The Dave Pasch Podcast, Harris’ football IQ and passion for the Cardinals’ players jumped through the sound track. Very impressive.
My all-time favorite image oof Adrian Wilson was when he was hoisting the Halas Trophy amidst the red rain of glorious confetti. As an All Pro safety, he helped the Cardinals go farther than any other team since 1947. Could he also do so as the team’s GM?
The gist is, any of these three candidates would be a very good choice, particularly because of their positive working relationships with Michael Bidwill and with each other.
Leeski and I were asking ourselves whether we would have to worry about any of these candidates being sycophants or toadies to Bidwill. We think the opposite. We believe that each one of these men would lead the organization with conviction and that Michael Bidwill would welcome and appreciate their convictions.
Having read yesterday’s ESPN+ report by Jeremy Fowler and Josh Weinfuss about Kliff Kingsbury’s frustration with the Cardinals’ current modus operandi, boy oh boy, could I relate. Perhaps so can many of you?
How many of you have found yourself in a position at work where you were forced to push and drive your bosses’ agenda —- an agenda that at times you don’t agree with? If so, then you could easily relate to Kliff’s situation with Steve Keim.
Getting back to when I was a English department chair, I was asked to do and say things that I adamantly disagreed with. While I voiced my reasons to the school principals as to why I didn’t concur with the demands I was given, it was often a moot point. I learned very quickly from the administrators that it was “put up and shut up.”
What resulted from carrying out the administrators’ agenda was the resentment I began receiving from my department members who thought my actions were of my own volition. I couldn’t tell them the truth, because I would have to throw my principals under the bus. Within my department, resentment turned to distrust and distrust turned to contempt. Sound familiar?
Jeremy Fowler and Josh Weinfuss are suggesting that Kliff Kingsbury could decide to walk away from being the head coach of the Cardinals. While many fans are very skeptical of Kliff walking away from the team and his millions in guaranteed money, like the Beatles’ wrote, “Money can’t by me love.”
As it turned out, I became the first department head in my 21 years at the school to resign from the position in order to go back full-time into the classroom. The turning point for me was coming to the conclusion that if I can’t be myself, then what’s the point? Is it worth all of the hassle, distrust, compromised values and misunderstandings?
As a result, I took a hefty pay cut. But, it was one of the best decisions of my career. I went back to spending all of my time with students who inspired and uplifted my spirits every single day.
This is what I wish for all people in life. Be yourself. Be happy with what you do. Be of good service to others. Feed off of the sheer joy that others bring to your life. The payback is enormous and it has absolutely nothing to do with money.
This is what I wish for Kliff Kingsbury. He is feeling strong enough in his convictions that he wants to be be given the resources (the right assistant coaches and players)to run his own offense. In other words, Kliff is tired of pushing someone else’s agenda. He’s fed up with having to take the sh^t that comes with not being able to be his own true self.
The positives that Kliff brings to the table are impossible to overlook or ignore:
- His players genuinely like him. He treats them with respect and they respect and appreciate him for that. He doesn’t throw his players under the bus to the media. Kliff has class. He lives by the Golden Rule.
- His offenses have been productive virtually every year he has been a play caller, save for this year. But look at how handicapped Kliff was this season by all of the tumult within the organization and the lack of participation in the team’s off-season programs which carried over into training camp where a number of key starters were injured or trying to get into shape while pondering retirement.
- He has beaten the Seahawks, Rams and 49ers twice each in four regular season tries in their stadiums, 3 times with Kyler and 3 times with Colt.
- He is the Cardinals’ most winningest head coach on the road. Now he needs to fix the home game woes, which is easier to fix than not being able to win much on the road.
- His 11 wins in 2021 are tied for the second best regular season in franchise history.
- His 8 roads wins in 2021 is a franchise record.
- Kyle Shanahan was 4-12 in 2018 and bounced back to 13-3 in 2019. Shanahan was 6-10 in 2020 and bounced back to 10-7 in 2021. The point is —- giving the coach a chance to bounce back from a down season is a pretty good idea.. This is the first year that Kliff’s record hasn’t improved. He deserves a bounce back season. if you think Shanahan is just so much greater than Kliff, despite the fact that Shanahan has been given more talent on both sides of the ball and a stronger coaching staff, Kliff is 3-4 versus Shanahan.
- Kliff’s work ethic is exceptional. He is a paragon of self-discipline and dedication.
- To see Kliff Kingsbury and his girlfriend taking part in DeAndre Hopkins’ Thanksgiving Day buffet supper at the shelter for abused women speaks volumes about the man's character. In a following episode of Hard Knocks, Kliff told us that who he is as a person is a reflection of what his extraordinary mom taught him about making the wants and needs of others his top priority in life. Look at the way in which he has been handling each and every misfortune the Cardinals have endured this season. Look at the way he has been there for his players. His composure and undeterred enthusiasm have been astounding. Look at the class and poise he showed when being f-bombed on national tv. Some might call that a weakness. But, some might recognize his handling of that adverse situation as strength of character.
You know, the curious paradox of each of our lives is the reality that our greatest strengths can also be interpreted by others has our greatest weaknesses. In the long run, when a man’s greatest strength is his poise and class under duress, those virtues will be of more benefit to the general good of the people around him, far more than what it would be otherwise.
True leadership comes from having the courage to stick to your greatest strengths, especially when others in the world around you are labeling your strength is a weakness.
Kliff wants to stand up for his strengths. In my opinion, that’s something to behold and honor.
As an NFL head coach, if Kliff has been able to accomplish what he has thus far —- without as yet being able to run his offense completely the way he wants —-imagine then what he and the team could achieve if he’s given the resources and the support to do what he does best.
Those are this fan’s simple answers. What are yours?
1 —- Would you want one of my football players to have Steve Keim as his GM?
2 —- Would you want my players to play for Kliff Kingsbury?
3 —- Would you want to coach Kyler Murray?
4 —- Would you want my defensive players to play for Vance Joseph?
5 —- Would you want my special teams players to play for Jeff Rodgers?
6 —- Would I you my players to play on the same team as Budda Baker and JJ Watt?