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.

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