ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals GM Steve Keim thinks Kliff Kingsbury is NFL Coach of the Year

Jan 7, 2022, 5:01 PM
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The list of NFL Coach of the Year favorites has shifted drastically in a span of a few weeks.

On Dec. 13, SportsBetting.Ag had New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as the odds favorite to win the award at +100.

That very week, Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, a former Patriots quarterback, deflected praise at himself toward his former coach. Kingsbury said Belichick deserved to win the award for as long as he was in the game.

Belichick then tossed the compliment right back at Kingsbury, saying it was he who deserved the 2021 award.

Oddsmakers agreed about that debate back in mid-December. Kingsbury was second (+300) to take home the award.

Then Arizona (11-5) lost three straight, ending that skid Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. But it hasn’t changed how Cardinals general manager Steve Keim views the race for NFL Coach of the Year.

“I think you take a step back and you say we have one of the best records in the National Football League,” Keim told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday. “And you have to put things in perspective. In my opinion, I think Kliff Kingsbury has not only done a phenomenal job, I think he’s the coach of the year. People say, ‘Why, why would you say (that)?’ Kliff Kingsbury won two of three games without our starting quarterback, with a number of players missing. And I know other people miss players.

“We won two games with (quarterback) Colt McCoy and Colt McCoy played at a high level. I can’t say enough good things about Kliff. Really happy with him and I know (owner Michael Bidwill) is happy with him as well.”

Kingsbury could do himself a favor in the NFL Coach of the Year conversation by winning game No. 12 on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks to end a four-game skid at State Farm Stadium.

That would cool off the narrative about Kingsbury’s teams tanking as a season goes on. Since 2019, his Cardinals have gone 15-5-1 in Weeks 1-7 of the season and 9-18 in Weeks 8-17.

Notably, Belichick’s crew hasn’t fared as well down the stretch of 2021 either, with the Patriots stumbling in two of their last three.

So with that, the conversation around who deserves the yearly honor has done a flip-turn as Arizona and New England petered off.

The under-the-radar Cincinnati Bengals forced head coach Zac Taylor into the spotlight as the Week 18 slate of games nears thanks to their seal on the AFC North crown.

Taylor leads the pack of favorites to win coach of the year, with Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur and Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel behind him.

Belichick has fallen to fourth (+1600) in terms of favorites, while Kingsbury is down to sixth (+5000), according to SportsBetting.ag’s latest odds.

2021 NFL Coach of the Year odds

Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor +135
Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur +185
Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel +190
New England’s Bill Belichick +1800
Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni +4000
Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury +5000
Dallas’ Mike McCarthy +5000
Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay +5000

 

Expectations not tempered for Watt’s return

Keim believes it’s entirely realistic for defensive end J.J. Watt to make a return from serious shoulder surgery for Arizona’s first playoff game since 2015.

“Yeah, I mean I wouldn’t rule it out and I wouldn’t bet against J.J. Watt,” Keim said Friday. “What I’ve seen from him internally in the building, his work ethic, the things he has done out on the field making sure he has stayed in shape, his nutrition, his preparation, is second-to-none. There is nobody who works like J.J. Watt.

“Certainly think he’s got an opportunity here moving forward.”

Asked if Watt would have to return in a reduced role because of his faster-than-expected comeback, Keim added:

“I think that would be a better question for the medical staff and for J.J. I know this: If you ask J.J., he probably wouldn’t want to be limited.”

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) celebrates during the first half of an NFL wild-ca...
Wills Rice

Report: Rams’ Aaron Donald fined for run-in with Cardinals’ D.J. Humphries

Report: Rams DT Aaron Donald has been fined $10,815 for his incident with Cardinals OT D.J. Humphries in Monday's Wild Card loss.
17 hours ago
Iowa offensive lineman Tyler Linderbaum (65) looks to make a block during the first half of an NCAA...
Alex Weiner

Cardinals select Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum in latest PFF mock draft

Pro Football Focus had the Arizona Cardinals selecting Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum in its first mock draft since Arizona's season ended.
17 hours ago
Kelvin Beachum #68 of the Arizona Cardinals leads teammates onto the field before the NFL game agai...
Alex Weiner

Arizona Cardinals positions of need: Offensive line breakdown

Right guard Max Garcia is the only Arizona Cardinals starting offensive linemen who is an upcoming free agent.
2 days ago
Linebacker Karlos Dansby #58 of the Arizona Cardinals claps in the second half against the St. Loui...
Arizona Sports

Former Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby: Moment was too big for them

Former Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby said Arizona was not able to slow the game down when it started to slip in Monday's playoff loss. 
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) and Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker J...
Wills Rice

Arizona Cardinals positions of need: A look at linebacker

The Cardinals have used their last two first round draft selections on linebackers, yet the position still seems to be one of need.
2 days ago
Purdue defensive end...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals take DL George Karlaftis in Kiper’s 1st NFL mock draft

ESPN's Mel Kiper has the Cardinals selecting DE George Karlaftis in the first round of his first NFL mock draft of the offseason.
3 days ago
Cardinals GM Steve Keim thinks Kliff Kingsbury is NFL Coach of the Year