Will Kliff Kingsbury survive Arizona’s late-season collapse?

Arizona Cardinals v Dallas Cowboys
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Cardinals coach Kliff Kingbury entered the 2021 season on an obvious hot seat. Despite a 10-2 start, he could be ending it the same way.

With a 1-4 slide to end the regular season and a blowout loss to the Rams in the wild-card round, will the Cardinals make a coaching change?

It’s a fair question to ask, given the way the campaign ended for Arizona. Making the question more fair is the fact that the Cardinals have a long history of changing coaches. Despite the fact that the franchise has existed for more than 100 years, no head coach has ever lasted more than six seasons.

For Kingsbury, it’s been three. The three initial years of Kyler Murray‘s career. Now, with Murray poised to expect a second contract that will consume a much larger percentage of the team’s salary cap, it will be harder to put a team around him. This year, the Cardinals had a team around him that, through the first 12 games, looked to be the best in the league.

Now? Not. Now, the question is whether the Cardinals will stand pat with Kingsbury for the final year of his contract or move on.

It’s ultimately for the Cardinals to decide. The past six games, which would have been winless but for a win at Dallas in Week 17, complicate the decision considerably.

So what will they do? Kingsbury has gone 24-24-1, with one playoff berth and a non-competitive showing against a division rival. Will it be enough? Time will tell.

103 responses to “Will Kliff Kingsbury survive Arizona’s late-season collapse?

  1. Shouldn’t. Had the team in first and then once they hit adversity he showed zero ability to navigate those waters, and return the team to the winning path they had been on. He’s a blue sky coach when all is good he’s not half bad. But when it gets ugly, complicated he is well short of NFL HC material IMO. He looks like an OC to me not an HC.

  2. Nevermind it being their first playoff game, are we sure it wasn’t their first football game period?

  3. What? It would be such a “bad franchise” thing to do to finally make the playoffs and then fire your coach. They faded, but that started when Murray missed a few games and Hopkins went out with the knee. It’s sometimes hard to recapture momentum, and losing one of the best receivers in the league really hurts an offense. A new coach means starting all over again. Give him time to build.

  4. You fail to mention the last 7-8 games injuries and Covid taking out key players like Murray, Conner, Edmonds, Hudson and Hopkins and others. When they were healthy with all their players Kingsbury was fine. Kliff also won two games with Colt McCoy.

  5. That’s harsh.
    The Cards are in one of the toughest if not the toughest divisions. They did well to make playoffs.
    Rams are superstar team loaded on all sides of ball.
    This was learning experience for Cards getting this far. This team has solid foundation for greater goals.

  6. Its probably Murray that shouldn’t…
    move him to running back and get a QB with some size, arm strength that can read defenses!

  7. They’ll probably dump him & hire a proven loser that’s been fired elsewhere. That’s how it works in the NFL.

  8. Yes. The owner is a sucker, doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and is happy to just be above .500.

    ~Cardinals fan

  9. Not that any of our votes or opinions matter, but as a Cardinals season tix holder they should move on from Kliff. He’s medicore at best. His only consistency is his questionable decision making in far too many games. He’s taken the Cardinals as far as they can go and the only direction left for him to take them is regression.

  10. Dear Cardinals and Seahawks, please keep the status quo. Don’t listen to the naysayers. We see multiple Super Bowl titles in the near future for both of you, if you just stay the course. Sincerely, Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay.

  11. This is the kind of thing that happens when you post images of yourself watching the draft in your luxurious mansion.

  12. Kinda nice somebody played worse then the Pats huh … but then again the wildcard round is there to get rid of the deadwood n pretenders … on to 2022 !!!.

  13. One more year for both coach and QB, I would guess. Maybe they then trade Murray for what they can get and let the new coach select his QB in the 2023 draft, which is supposed to be a good one for that position.

  14. His team’s late-season collapse was no worse than Frank Reich’s. Just saying…

  15. There’s a reason that the Cardinals have the longest championship drought in sports. Dysfunctional.

  16. Come on. The Cardinals won 10+ games, this is not even a rational question. They haven’t been in the playoffs in years and they finally broke through.

  17. Team hasn’t been the same since he was vague about coming back next year. If that was a ploy to leverage more cash in a new contract then it backfired in dramatic fashion.

  18. I see a Super Bowl in the future for the Cardinals…wait, wait the picture is getting clearer….yes I see it now…the Cardinal’s stadium will have the 2024 Super Bowl… The Cardinal’s players will be in attendance in Bidwell’s owner’s suite….

  19. So getting the playoffs gets you fired now? Did I miss something where the Cardinals have become this franchise that is expected to be good? Keep firing coaches and turning things over. Teams that keep turning over never get to where they want.

  20. Kingsbury gives his players social media breaks every 20 minutes during team meetings because he thinks it helps them focus. Sounds like a joke right? It’s not. Apparently what’s happening on tiktok is more important to winning football than what is said during these meetings.

  21. Haven’t watched a lot of Arizona games, however Murry did not look like an NFL quarterback to this fan.

  22. Selling home field tickets to the play-offs before having it wrapped-up turned out not to be such a good idea.

  23. Murray might just not be a franchise QB, how many games has he played like one since he has been back from his injury?

  24. Also look at his record the last few years.
    Kliff Kingsbury’s end to the season as a head coach… Texas Tech: • ’13: lost 5 of 6 • ’14: lost 4 of 6 • ’15: lost 4 of 6 • ’16: lost 6 of 8 • ’17: lost 6 of 8 • ’18: lost 5 of 5 Cardinals: • ’19: lost 7 of 9 • ’20: lost 5 of 7 • ‘21: lost 5 of 6

  25. The Cardinals have been a paper tiger all season, so falling in the wildcard round to real teams shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to anyone. I’m not saying they’re total garbage, but the Cardinals are a dog with no fight. When difficult times or adversity hits, they fold like a cheap tent.

    Before anyone pops off about the 49ers, the Cards and 49ers are similar in some ways. That is true, but the 49ers have fight, they will punch any team in the mouth running the ball. If anything, if the 49ers are going to go down with a loss, you can’t say they give up easily or not go down swinging.

    “You are what your record says you are.”

  26. Firing him would be one of the dumbest things in NFL history. Is he perfect? Certainly not. But, if you flip new coaches every few years, you’ll be doing that the rest of your franchises history. You have to give coaches time to develop. Most of the legendary coaches had early failures, but now we expect coaches to be hall of fame material by week 3 of year 1.

  27. I think should cut him loose. As a matter of fact, I think Pete Carroll should be gone and probably Shannahan too. All 3 teams underperformed. The Cards collasped, the Seattle was pretty bad, and San Fran backed into the playoff after a mediocre season. Fire them all and hire:
    1.Arizona: Chip Kelly 2.Seattle: Matt Patricia 3. San Fran: Urban Meyer
    If these teams are smart they would take my suggestions. Just doing my part to help.

    Sincerely
    A Rams Fan!!😁

  28. He should not, will he? Who knows with the Bidwills. A career loser who skipped the line to become an NFL HC.

    Kliff Kingsbury’s end to the season record as a head coach.

    Texas Tech:
    • ’13: lost 5 of 6
    • ’14: lost 4 of 6
    • ’15: lost 4 of 6
    • ’16: lost 6 of 8
    • ’17: lost 6 of 8
    • ’18: lost 5 of 5

    Cardinals:
    • ’19: lost 7 of 9
    • ’20: lost 5 of 7
    • ‘21: lost 5 of 6

  29. This guy couldn’t even win in college. I’ve always been confused as to how he got an NFL job in the first place…

  30. Never understood why this guy was on the hot seat as soon as he was hired. Nineteen years of play before him, the team had 5 winning seasons. He took over a 3-13 team and in year 3 he had them in the playoffs despite injuries.

  31. It stinks to lose a great WR like Hopkins, but that was half a season ago, and they had time to either have someone replace at least some of his proucction, or develop a different gameplan to maximize the skills of the players you do have.

    I just wonder if Zona collapsed, or if they overachieved in the first half of the season.

  32. The fact that Kingsbury was calling running plays down by 3 scores in the 4th quarter of a playoff game should. After seeing Murry look like me playing QB, they mite as well have tried McCoy.

  33. I was a doubter when they hired him. Thought he was doomed for a one year flameout. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

    He took a 3-13 team and has improved it in basically every metric every season. 5-10-1 to 8-8 to 11-6. Offensive ranks and defensive ranks have improved every single season. Needless to say, such improvement runs out of room for growth at some point, but management would be asinine to fire him right now. He’s got them into the playoffs. They are young team, still learning. And he’s a young coach, also still learning. Let them keep growing together. I’d sign him for another four years.

  34. Injuries played a big part in the decline of the Cardinals towards the end of the year. Of course bring Kingsbury back. The last thing that a young quarterback needs is upheaval in the coaching staff.

  35. It’s Murray that needs to go not Klliff. Why do all these NFL teams keep picking running backs instead of real QB’s?? It just doesn’t work! Get a true QB and this team is totally different.. in a good way!

  36. Most folks here were pushing him as rhe argument as to why Belichick shouldn’t get COY. So now what, does Belichick get it or do you guys think up a new argument against that?

  37. It’s really telling when Whisenhunt is your longest tenured coach over a century….and he only lasted that long because Warner fell into his lap for a couple of seasons. I’d give Kingsbury one more season; coaches who win 10 games don’t grow on trees.

  38. “When they were healthy with all their players Kingsbury was fine.”

    It’s the NFL–how many teams are “healthy with all their players” all season?

    This isn’t Madden where you can turn off all injuries. Part of being a head coach is navigating injury waters.

  39. Boy, not even making the playoffs can keep you safe from the owner telling you to see him & bring your playbook . Todays NFL.

  40. Kingsbury hitched his wagon to a qb that can’t read defenses, and it is ultimately going to cost him his job.

  41. ibfrank says:
    January 17, 2022 at 11:41 pm
    They’ll probably dump him & hire a proven loser that’s been fired elsewhere. That’s how it works in the NFL.
    —————————————————————————————————————
    Now tell us all how Kliff had three straight losing seasons at Texas Tech and then wasn’t retained.

  42. Successful teams have continuity. And a good QB
    If you do t follow this formula, you will be the, well you’ll be the cards

  43. In Kingsbury’s defense this year, things started to fall apart after DeAndre Hopkins got injured & Murray & others were out with COVID. Murray’s numbers with Hopkins in the game are starkly better than without DHop.

    And AJ Green has not come through in the clutch. Green practically lost the game vs the Packers when he forgot he was WR1 when Murray threw him a perfect TD in the end zone with seconds left in the game. And yesterday, if he had held on to that ball, they would have made a first down, been out of the end zone & maybe the ugly pick that Murray threw would not have happened.

    And, the RAMS defense – Arnold & Von Miller – can suffocate even the best & most experienced QBs.

  44. No team is more reliant on great WRs than the Cards and their top 2 were both out. Kliffs system is not built to grind it out with a short passing game which is what they needed to do today.

  45. He hitched his wagon to Kyler Murray and the wagon has gone off the cliff (yuk yuk). If one goes, they both need to.

  46. I don’t think they should fire him. They were playing well then Hopkins got injured. Then Murray fell totally apart.

    The bigger problem is Murray. If he thinks he’s worth a top-dollar contract then they need to move on. He was terrible the last half of the season just as he was terrible last night. There’s no way you can win a game when your QB has a rating of 7.6. When they played the Colts it was 7.0. They need to figure out if he’s the future but it’s beginning to look like maybe not. They have two years to figure it out. Maybe that’s where they should start instead of firing Kingsbury.

  47. So funny to see Rams and 49ers fans talking trash about the Cardinals and Seahawks?!?! Both teams will get smoked this weekend in the Divisional games.

  48. Murray could not overcome the loss of Hopkins. AJ Green and his zero catches yesterday didn’t help. He lost a big security blanket without Hopkins. Murray looked scared and confused all night.

  49. canadianpatsfan says:
    January 17, 2022 at 11:50 pm
    Kinda nice somebody played worse then the Pats huh …

    ——-
    No they didn’t. For that to be true the Rams would have scored a TD on every possession

  50. Too many injuries and Covid hurt him. I’d give him another year. Murray is the question mark to me. That guy does NOT look like an elite NFL QB….

  51. A little over a month ago, the Cards were favored to win the super bowl, and Kingsbury was right up at the top of the list of best coaches. Then their QB got injured. Then their HOF WR got injured. Then their HOF defensive lineman got injured, and surprise surprise, the team went into a skid. That’s not on the coach.

  52. It was only a month ago that Bill Belichick thought Kingsbury should be “coach of the year”.

  53. Anyone else notice the Cardinals went downhill fast once #10 was out? They aren’t that good of a team. They have no offensive weapons outside of their QB and #10. Maybe the coach should go, but they also need better talent around Murray.

  54. I do not think KK is the problem as much as Murray. I am pretty sure most objective people knew AZ would be one and done. Murray is the most overrated player in the league. KK did a good job even through injuries and was able to win 2 games with McCoy.

  55. Really a 51/49 type of call. I think you have to give KK one more year – the real issue to me, as others have said, is Murray really a top flight NFL QB, and is Kingsbury the one to bring out the best in him? Mahomes is really a one-off, and while Murray does some good things, he hasn’t shown a lot of ability to win close games against good teams in the clutch. If they don’t at least win one playoff game next year, I think you have to move on from both of them

  56. If you’re going to fire him you probably need to get rid of the GM that would be picking his 3rd coach in five years too

  57. I agree with posters who are questioning Murray rather than Kingsbury. Maybe Kingsbury upcoached an average QB to be good?

  58. I’m solidly in the keep Kliff camp. He’s brought those perennial losers into the playoffs…what do you want? An Urban Meyer experience?

  59. Kyler Murray is a coach killer. He’s very talented and puts up big numbers in ideal situations, but his size doesn’t allow him to overcome the tougher situations a top quarterback must rise above. He’s too good to release, but he can only lead a team so far before hitting a wall. He’s basically fool’s gold and will get coaches fired until the league stops trying to make it work with him.

  60. Kyler Murray’s time as a starter isn’t too much longer. He’ll be a backup in a few years. Once his legs start to slow down, he’s done being a starting QB.

  61. Firing him makes NO sense. He didn’t do a bad job considering his best WR was out and no other WR stepped up their game

  62. As Bill Parcells said, “you are what your record says you are”. He is a 500 coach. Never won a thing. Murray needs structure and someone who will teach him how to lead. He sits alone all the time, does not interact much with anyone on the sidelines and shows very little leadershp skills. He has talent but needs to be taught the other stuff.
    They won’t hire him but Jim Caldwell is actually perfect. Instead, if they fire Kingsbury they will hire some young up and comer who is not qualified to be a head coach. Just because you are a good cooordinator it does not mean you are a good head coaching candidate.

  63. Murray is far from being a top tier quarterback. No touch on a screen pass, bounces ten yard passes. Trouble throwing on a rollout. All these problems show up every game.

  64. Murray is under contract for another season. Might as well let it ride.

    Hit the nuke button next season if this is their peak.

  65. I think Kingsbury is a good coach and he should be given another chance. It’s Murray who should go. They need a quarterback with size, better numbers and leadership skills.

  66. That was really bad for a number 1 overall pick in his 3rd season against a team he faces twice a year in an elimination game. Coach didn’t tell him to toss the ball in the air by his own goal-line for an easy pick 6 – that was brutal, and pretty much put the game out of reach at that point. Mayfield > Murray.

  67. Trade Murray and get a QB that can run a traditional NFL offense. There are 3 or 4 reserve QB’s that deserve a chance to be starters under the right coaching.

  68. The Cardinals need to keep him and the rest of the team intact. Ownership/Bidwells has changed cities 3 times and coaches too many times to count. No continuity of the team except they keep pulling in revenue with their hype and hope marketing. Bidwells only care about revenue. They learned that lesson from George Halas and the Bears.

  69. There are eight head coaching jobs open right now. Three years ago, after the 2018 season, there were eight head coaching jobs open. Four of those head coaches have already been fired, three have had success, and the last one is Kliff Kingsbury. The four who got fired did not have a legitimate starting quarterback. The three that have been successful have Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Joe Burrow as quarterbacks. Take those three quarterbacks away from those three head coaches at all three of those head coaches, Ariens, Taylor, La Fluer would all have been fired by now. And the two coaches aside from Zack Taylor inherited Hall of Fame quarterbacks, they didn’t make them great. So Kliff Kingsberry would be the talk of the NFL if he was coaching Aaron Rodgers or Joe Burrow, and would have been fired if he was coaching Sam Darnold or Drew Lock. The problem for Kingsberry is that Kyler Murray is just good enough to get you humiliated in the first round of the playoffs. He is not an elite quarterback, but he is not horrible like half of the NFL starting quarterbacks in the league are. When is the NFL going to figure this out. Keep firing coaches because they happen to be coaching mediocre to bad quarterbacks. Mike McCarthy‘s crime is that he coaches a quarterback who can get you to the playoffs, but not get you anywhere close to a Super Bowl. He will always get knocked out in the first round or may win the wildcard game and get knocked out in the second round. That is who he is. We saw that on full display on Sunday. So we have these coordinators who happen to coach elite quarterbacks getting opportunities to become head coaches when they are no better head coaches than all the other coordinators who are on teams that don’t have elite quarterbacks. So we go through this coach carousel Every year, and the ones who get the jobs happen to be at organizations who have great quarterbacks, and the new head coaches that will eventually get fired Will not have had the luxury of coaching an elite quarterback at their new team.

  70. Let’s see. He inherited a team that went 3-13, they were 5-10-1 in his first year, then 8-8 in year two, and this year 11-6 with a playoff berth in the league’s toughest division. Yes, by all means, he needs to go. Good grief. I’m not saying he’s the second coming of Lombardi, but come on.

  71. You know…
    This should NOT be as much as a surprise as some thought it seemed to be.
    Look at those “10 Wins” before the losing streak. For that matter, look at the entire season.

    They beat like 3 or 4 teams with a winning record… ALL SEASON.
    And they beat the Vikings on a LAST SECOND field goal.

    The Cardinals were a paper tiger, who beat teams everyone else also beat all season, and it should not surprise anyone they got clobbered.

  72. I’m not sure how you suggest dumping a coach that’s improved every year. From the look of the stats, Murray’s biggest need is to learn to spread the ball around more. His yards per attempt average dropped by nearly 2 yards after Hopkins was injured and it doesn’t look like they ever found an answer to his production. That can be corrected via coaching, game planning, and likely drafting some young TE or WR talent.

  73. Kliff missed getting to a bowl game 2 out of 3 years with Mahomes. He hand picked Murray. He is exactly what his record is, always fades during the season. If that’s OK, keep him.

  74. Dude has a HC history of starting well and then total collapse second half of season. Numbers do not lie. He was an overreach here to begin with and is not qualified to adjust to any adversity. Will not be the answer in Arizone. Plus wasted Kylers first three years.

  75. I don’t think he threw the two picks. I also don’t think it was his fault his number 1 WR missed a ton of games.

  76. I was wondering, he had Hopkins and Green sailing down the sidelines and he was rolling out making the big pass and that works when you have top receivers. he lost Hopkins and everything went to hell.

  77. The Cardinals are becoming a typical Phoenix sports franchise, like the Suns,…Perennially just good enough to be cannon fodder in the playoffs. The NFL seasons are so long now that anyone that starts out hot and tries to go flat out is doomed; it’s the teams that go slow and just stay close enough to the leaders, waiting for the right time to make their move, to finish peaking in time for the playoffs that win…Kliff should know this by now…let him go and bring in Flores…

  78. I have said it from the onset, Kyler is too small for the NFL, the same thing happened last year with him. As the season goes on little dings and such which would not cause a pocket QB issues will cause QBs like Kyler and Lamar to miss time.

    It only takes so long for Defensive coaches to catch up to these gimmick type offenses, Kingsbury is done, time to go back to the College ranks.

  79. Depending on running QB to move your offense is a dangerous game. They inevitably get hurt. That’s what happened here. It’s up to GM to give his coach a backup with the same skill set. Kingsbury got his team to the playoffs. That should be good enough.

  80. Wow The Cards season mirrored the Steelers from last yr, kind of: Started extremely fast & ended w/ a thud. Tho Tomlin pretty much has a lifelong job if he wants. QB wise, Steelers had a dinosaur while AZ had a young short guy who was, uh… basically short.

  81. When you look that overwhelmed and incompetent in a playoff game against a division rival that you beat badly earlier in the season you need to go.

  82. He really needed a good game against the Rams. Win or lose just to curb the doubters like myself. Truthfully both him and Murray are overrated. Coach of the year chatter, MVP chatter. LOL. They just started out so hot they fooled a lot of people, but really they were a fringe (wildcard) NFC playoff team that made it this year and were quickly bounced by a better opponent. Firing him for meeting realistic expectations feels like an overreaction.

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