Bidwill, Cardinals focused primarily on play-calling during coaching search

Jan 9, 2019, 4:51 PM | Updated: 4:52 pm
Arizona Cardinals new NFL football head coach Kliff Kingsbury, right, and team owner Michael Bidwel...
Arizona Cardinals new NFL football head coach Kliff Kingsbury, right, and team owner Michael Bidwell, address the media, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

When Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill opened up the search for the team’s next head coach, he had one thing in mind.


With a young QB coming off a year in which he threw more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11) and a 3-13 record for the team, the Cardinals knew going into the search they needed to find stability and fast.

A good way to achieve that?

Have your offensive mastermind call the shots.

“If we want to have sustained success, you’ve got to have your play-caller be your head coach,” Bidwill told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Wednesday. “Because if not, as soon as we have success somebody’s going to steal our play-caller to be their head coach.”

That’s just what Arizona did as the Cardinals hired former Texas Tech coach and offensive-minded Kliff Kingsbury as their next head coach.

For Kingsbury, it’s his first shot at the NFL.

“The best thing about Kliff Kingsbury is his level of awareness,” Bidwill said of the HC. “He knows coming into this job, he’s going to have to rely on Steve [Keim] and some of the other people that he knows in the league to understand who are the best coaches that we can bring in and so far the discussions have gone very, very well. We’re getting some great progress in a lot of different areas.

“We should be able to bring on some people that will help us quite a bit, former veteran coaches that really know the NFL well and will be able to help him on offense mesh the offensive NFL with some of his innovative ideas.”

Kingsbury joins a team that saw rookie quarterback Josh Rosen deal with a number of moving pieces on the offense.

Along with the revolving door of offensive lineman, his first OC of his NFL career, Mike McCoy, lasted just half the year before getting the axe. Bryon Leftwich, the interim offensive coordinator in place of McCoy, is reportedly heading to Tampa Bay.

But while turning up the offense was heavily on the minds of Bidwill and Keim, the defense — and what that scheme might entail — has yet to make a major splash in the offseason.

Citing offensive gurus such as Matt Nagy with the Bears, Sean McVay with the Rams and Andy Reid with the Chiefs, however, Bidwill backed up his thought process in finding the next coach to fill that persona.

“Locking in our play-caller, strategically it’s good for us on a sustained basis and there’s lots of defensive coordinators out there, but the play-callers? You’ve got to get that right, especially if you got a young quarterback,” Bidwill said. “You can’t be doing the switching systems on him when you lose a coordinator, lose a play-caller.

“You have to keep some consistency there if you want to sustain success.”

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