DAN BICKLEY

Cardinals’ talent too good for offense to be this bad

Oct 30, 2022, 2:58 PM | Updated: 3:02 pm
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury directs his team during the first half of an NFL footb...

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury directs his team during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

The Cardinals are close to being a good team. They’re just as close to circling the drain.

For culprits, you can start with the head coach wearing sunglasses indoors.

Following a 34-26 loss to the Vikings on Sunday, Cardinals fans are once again stewing over the never-ending buffet of incompetence: Boring, predictable offense; play clock issues and trouble getting plays called on time; burning timeouts to compensate for communication issues; passes thrown short of the line of scrimmage and passes thrown short of the first down markers; and a team that rarely rises to the moment, turning most endgame situations into football fire drills.

Every bit of that ultimately falls on Kliff Kingsbury, the head coach who is driving a wedge between the fan base and its faith in both the team’s ownership and its future.

This should not be happening midway through Year 4. The Cardinals have too much weaponry on offense to look this impotent, this confused and this reliant on an elite wide receiver. Only when desperate does the team seem to exploit its very best weapons, Kyler Murray’s feet and DeAndre Hopkins’ hands.

It’s a shame because Kyler Murray has incredible arm talent, and it’s being wasted. The misuse of Rondale Moore’s staggering potential is also obnoxious. Midway through Sunday’s game, one clever observer renamed the head coach, “Kliff Screensbury.”

Murray isn’t without his flaws. Did you see the commercial for his favorite video game, Call of Duty, that ran during Arizona’s loss? It was a locker room full of football players chanting military style and apologizing to their head coach for staying up all night playing video games. It was ruthless, and could not have been a coincidence.

But if you think Murray is more to blame than the head coach, you’re not thinking clearly. Or maybe you’re the general manager.

The Cardinals dressed two kickers on Sunday. They traded draft capital to acquire wide receiver Robbie Anderson, only to start A.J. Green against the Vikings, a washed-up former great who didn’t even see the field the previous week. And the second-round selection of Trey McBride looks to be a colossal blunder, a young player who can’t stop making mental errors when he touches the field. Steve Keim’s most recent draft class is once again adding very little to the mix.

It’s a shame because Vance Joseph is the best head coach on the team, a defensive coordinator who watched Kingsbury get all the toys and resources and has nevertheless produced a fierce, hard-hitting defense that never stops fighting. Watching them fills me with pride.

The offense fills me with anger. Because the production doesn’t match the talent. Because the offense is anything but entertaining. Because the longer this franchise waits to find the right coach to elevate their $230 million quarterback is just another day wasted.

At any rate, the Cardinals are 3-5 with three consecutive NFC West games in succession. It’s a pivotal time for a team and a regime that never seems to run out of crossroads.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7.

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