DAN BICKLEY

Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury’s offense no longer a threat to rest of NFL

Oct 16, 2022, 5:29 PM | Updated: Oct 17, 2022, 9:51 am

This was anything but a “Get Right” game for Kliff Kingsbury and his fraudulent offense.

This was a “Get Gone” game. And following a 19-9 loss to the Seahawks on a beautiful Sunday in Seattle, only one relevant question remains to those still interested:

Will owner Michael Bidwill recognize his head coach is so overmatched by NFL standards that he can’t generate offense in Week 6 of Year 4 with a handpicked franchise quarterback?

On Sunday, the Cardinals failed to score a touchdown against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Will Bidwill recognize that Kingsbury is not even the best head coach on his staff?

We already know the answer. The absurd contract extensions awarded to Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim suggest that Bidwill has already lowered his competitive standards. And the impending return of DeAndre Hopkins will serve as another convenient reprieve for Kingsbury, whose offense produced a field goal on the first drive of the game and nothing thereafter.

We know the drill. There will be more humility and hollow promises and feeble attempts at spin. But nothing will change. No matter how often Keim and Bidwill continue to rave about their head coach, the proof is clear for all to see. To wit:

Kingsbury knew that Hopkins would be suspended for six games dating back to May 2022. He had months to prepare for his absence. His offense still looks as clueless as it did at the end of last season.

Look at the conservative game plan of the Seahawks on Sunday, and how it mocked the current game day operations in Arizona.

In the past two weeks, the Seahawks allowed 45 points to the Lions and 39 points to the Saints. They yielded nearly 1,400 yards of offense to their last three opponents. And yet Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was so unthreatened by Kingsbury’s offense that he pulled back the throttle on his own offense, eagerly willing to trade field goals with a team that didn’t have a kicker.

What a joke.

No serious franchise tolerates this kind of malfeasance from its GM and head coach. No serious franchise runs it back with Matt Ammendola, a kicker who sabotaged two different games for two different franchises before Sunday’s encore, where he missed a key extra point. Whose very presence compelled the Cardinals to go for it on a series of ill-fated fourth-down attempts.

Kyler Murray shares some of the blame. He tried to make plays with his legs, rushing for 100 yards in 10 attempts on Sunday. But he made poor throws in a handful of key situations. He doesn’t look very confident in this offense, either. And the Cardinals can’t afford to waste another minute mishandling and under-developing a $230 million quarterback.

For a long time, I’ve been wholly convinced that Kingsbury is not ready for the magnitude of his job. He isn’t a natural born leader. He isn’t a good play caller. He is not good under pressure. And it all started in the collapse of 2020, when he waved the white flag in the final five minutes of a potential playoff-clinching game against the Rams … when he called an option play on 3rd-and-18 with an injured quarterback … when he punted on fourth down with under five minutes to play while trailing by two scores … because he had no idea what to call.

It’s even worse now. Kingsbury’s offense is no longer any kind of threat to NFL defenses and maybe it never was. It’s worse because Vance Joseph is working wonders with his underfunded defense, a unit that continues to overachieve through preparedness and togetherness, a unit that posted five sacks of Geno Smith on Sunday.

Unlike Kingsbury, Joseph has clearly cultivated belief on his side of the football. He is an excellent candidate to jumpstart a losing program in the middle of the season. Especially if things don’t go well on Thursday Night Football, if the Cardinals are 2-5 entering a 10-day break.

Either way, we’re going to find out just how much Hopkins means to this offense. And just how serious the owner is about playing in the Glendale Super Bowl in February 2023.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta mornings from 6–10 a.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Life Changer Loans
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury speaks at a news conference after his team's NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) fumbles while sacked by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Darrell Taylor (52) during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. Cardinals offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum, right, recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly (89) runs against Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins (25) during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz (86) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen (27) during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Former Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander is honored into the team's Ring of Honor during halftime of an NFL football game between the Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles away from Seattle Seahawks linebacker Boye Mafe (53) during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Former Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander is honored into the team's Ring of Honor during halftime of an NFL football game between the Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes in front of Seattle Seahawks defensive end Darrell Taylor (52) during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) passes against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches from the sideline during the second half of his team's NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III (9) runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin, middle left, runs against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Arizona Cardinals linebacker Myjai Sanders, top, sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz, right, catches a pass in front of Seattle Seahawks safety Ryan Neal during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) fumbles while tackled by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Coby Bryant, right, during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. The ball was recovered by Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Arizona Cardinals' Chris Banjo, middle, celebrates after recovering a fumble for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) cannot catch a pass in front of Arizona Cardinals linebacker Tanner Vallejo during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III (9) runs for a touchdown against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) celebrates a touchdown run by running back Kenneth Walker III during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks safety Ryan Neal, left, breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz, right, catches a pass in front of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen (27) during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll greets players during the second half of his team's NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) passes against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, bottom, reacts after being sacked against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen (27) celebrates with safety Josh Jones after intercepting a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown, left, during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen (27) intercepts a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown, rear, during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Seattle Seahawks defensive end Shelby Harris (93) gestures toward fans during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride reacts on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, left, runs against Seattle Seahawks defensive end Shelby Harris (93) and defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson (77) during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (10) celebrates after sacking Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III (9) runs against Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence (90) during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) runs in front of Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) drops back to pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) reacts after a tackle against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) runs against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) runs against Seattle Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs (6) during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Caean Couto) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) cannot catch a pass against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) cannot catch a pass over Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons (9) during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Dan Bickley

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury looks down during the second half of an NFL football g...
Dan Bickley

Pressure on Cardinals’ Kingsbury builds after Payton rumors, loss to Chargers

It's unlikely Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury loses his job, but pressure builds after a loss to the Chargers and a rumor about Sean Payton.
10 days ago
(Facebook Photo/David Glasser Foundation)...
Dan Bickley

Giving thanks to a sports community that shows up in the worst of times

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the love, empathy and strong sense of community inside this transient, crazy, divisive sports town.
15 days ago
Kevin Givens #90 of the San Francisco 49ers sacks Colt McCoy #12 of the Arizona Cardinals during th...
Dan Bickley

The truth of the Cardinals comes out in Mexico City

Once the ball is in play, pro football is brutal and honest. Once again, it wasn’t pretty for the Cardinals on Monday night in Mexico City.
16 days ago
Eno Benjamin #26 of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball and is knocked out of bounds during a prese...
Dan Bickley

Eno Benjamin’s release spotlights pattern with Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have a history of players in small offensive roles getting upset at the inconsistency of their playing time.
22 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on from the sidelines during the third quarter of th...
Dan Bickley

Cardinals organized, empowered vs. Rams without Kyler Murray at QB

Colt McCoy’s spot start on Sunday gave Kliff Kingsbury a chance to provide some clarity, maybe even hope for the future.
24 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, middle, goes between Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27...
Dan Bickley

Devin Booker is delivering a refined brand of fury this season

Devin Booker is playing without fear, even though his reputation was dragged this offseason, turned into a meme.
27 days ago
Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury’s offense no longer a threat to rest of NFL