Kliff Kingsbury will remain Arizona Cardinals’ play-caller vs. Vikings
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury will remain the team’s play-caller for a Week 8 matchup in Minnesota on Sunday.
That much he confirmed a week after he left the door open for changes as the offense came off a season-worst performance against the Seattle Seahawks.
But as of Monday, coming off a win on Thursday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints, Kingsbury has no plans of changing his job description.
“I will call (plays) against the Vikings,” Kingsbury told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Monday. “We’re working through some things still and we have a long way to go. We have got to be more consistent, no doubt. But I like where it’s heading, so hopefully we can keep the momentum going.
“I think every situation is different,” he added of head coaches who might consider relinquishing play-calling duties. “You see around the league, some people have done it, some have given it up, some have gone back to it. There’s no right or wrong answer there. I think it’s whatever fits your team at that time.”
The Cardinals are now coming off a 42-34 win over the Saints on that saw the return of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from a six-game PED suspension.
Kingsbury told Wolf & Luke before the Thursday game that he would consider “whatever it takes to win” and “examine all avenues” when asked about relinquishing play-calling duties. But Kingsbury added that the short week wouldn’t allow the Cardinals enough time to make drastic changes.
A win later, it appears drastic change isn’t on the menu.
Hopkins helps things. He put up 103 yards on 10 receptions across 14 targets in his 2022 season debut en route to snapping an eight-game losing skid with the highest point total in the Kingsbury-Kyler Murray era.
“That was without practicing at all, we just walked through,” Kingsbury said. “I’m hopeful the more time on task we get with him and with Kyler that the role will continue to expand. He’s a guy that even when he’s covered, he’s open and we needed his presence out there.”
It’s not just what the three-time All-Pro wideout does on the stat sheet but also what his presence on the field does for his teammates.
With opposing defenses’ primary focus being on Hopkins every play, Cardinals weapons such as tight end Zach Ertz, running backs James Conner and Eno Benjamin, and wide receivers Robbie Anderson and Hollywood Brown — upon his return from IR — will have more one-on-one matchups that Murray can exploit.
Kingsbury added that Hopkins being back for Arizona gives the entire team added confidence and swagger.
“That’s the type of impact that true No. 1 top type of wideouts in the league — that’s the impact he has,” he said. “There were some big plays where I felt like that was a security blanket and Kyler found him and kept the chains moving. And that’s where we really struggled with third down, second-and-long situations and Hop really had a huge impact on that.”