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Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury admits he’s a thief but not a plagiarist

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury talks to the media ahead of the team’s Red and White Practice Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, at State Farm Stadium. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE, Ariz. — For all the heat Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has taken for only having college coaching experience prior to this season, it appears that he took something from the stronger bookworm culture at a university.

He’s sure to give credit to his source material.

Earlier in the week, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale told reporters that pro play-callers had “for years” been stealing Kingsbury’s plays he ran as Texas Tech’s head coach.

Asked Friday how that felt, Kingsbury brushed any compliments toward his offensive creativeness aside with some self-deprecation.

“I take a ton from everybody. I’m probably the biggest thief of concepts and gadgetry and everything,” he said. “I usually at least cite where I got it from in the postgame if it works, though.”

Kingsbury’s background in the spread Air Raid offense of course borrowed concepts from its inventors, Hal Mumme and Mike Leach, but with a twist. High schools across the country adopted that offense, among others, and that seeped its way from the youth level up to college.

Obviously, it’s taken the NFL the longest to adopt Air Raid principles, but they have been there long before Kingsbury arrived in Arizona before this season.

As Martindale put it before the Cardinals visited the Ravens on Sunday for a Week 2 matchup, Kingsbury is just bringing “The Full Monty” to Baltimore.

Since he’s an admitted thief, Kingsbury of course doesn’t mind others stealing concepts from him.

“That’s the sport. Imitation is the finest form of flattery, right?” he said.

“Everybody shares plays, everybody uses each others’ concepts, and that’s to me one of the more fun challenges is how you can take somebody else’s kind of brilliant football concept and fit it in your offense and still make it make sense to your team. Certain guys are really good at it.”

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