Keim: Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has as much swag as Bruce Arians
Sep 4, 2020, 9:07 AM | Updated: 10:49 pm
(AP Photo/Matt York)
Bruce Arians expresses expletive-laced brutal honesty as a person. As a coach, he loves play-action leading to deep vertical shots on the football field. Off it, he’s sipping bourbon by the lake. He spent decades in the NFL before the Arizona Cardinals gave him his first head-coaching gig.
Kliff Kingsbury is head-in-the-playbook calm on the sidelines. He’ll binge on Netflix after a long day’s work, but in the offseason will be suited up, ready to take his weekly haircut out for a night with the boys. As you might know, he got the Cardinals head coaching job without any NFL coaching experience.
They’re very different dudes, though as Kingsbury approaches his second season as NFL head coach, general manager Steve Keim sees similarities in one way.
“The things that I’ve seen out of Kliff Kingsbury: Number one, his humility is off the charts, and No. 2, his ability to self-evaluate,” Keim told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Friday. “To me that is really what sets that apart.
“Don’t mistake anything — this guy has got a quiet confidence and a swag that behind closed doors is absolutely as much as Bruce Arians ever had, which is a lot.”
Well, we knew about the swag part.
The confidence maybe doesn’t show through as much because Kingsbury is quick to take blame, admit mistakes and deflect credit.
Kingsbury gave defensive coordinator Vance Joseph the keys to the defense, and he leaned on Joseph, plus special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, to map out his first NFL training camp in 2019.
Later on as a rookie coach last year, Kingsbury admitted his bland offense in the preseason was to blame for a sluggish start to the regular season. His overuse of 10-personnel evolved to include more 11- and 12-personnel by working with offensive line coach Sean Kugler to tweak the attack.
All of that is why, before the 2020 season begins, Keim feels good about his much-criticized hire last year.
“Kliff can learn and grow from mistakes in the past,” Keim said. “At the same time, he’s got a drive and a confidence that is second-to-none that I’ve seen.”