Questions, Intrigue Swirling Around Kingsbury Hire

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Bird Gang front office went bold with their newest head coach in Kliff Kingsbury. No NFL coaching experience, a sub-.500 record at Texas Tech, a defense that struggled under his watch and just one bowl win.

But….

The quarterback track record speaks for itself: Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Johnny Manziel, Case Keenum. After Josh Rosen spent much of his rookie year on his back and juggling offensive coordinators, this young quarterback now has an offensive mind that can help him grow in Year 2.

The 2018 Cardinal offense had their wings clipped, but it’s hard not to imagine this group taking flight under Kingsbury. This offensive makeover could jumpstart David Johnson to his 2016 form and help push Larry Fitzgerald to return for another season. But perhaps the biggest beneficiary to this move could be Christian Kirk. Kingbury’s link to Mahomes is well-documented, but how beneficial is it to the MVP candidate to have a Tyreek Hill that can open things up? We saw glimpses of that between Rosen and Kirk in their rookie years even though the offensive line’s injuries reduced them to hummus. Getting that group back on track can make a healthy Kirk the gamebreaker Steve Keim was hoping for when he drafted him.

So about that defense….

So this isn’t necessarily isolated to Kingsbury, but Texas Tech was never really been known for their defense. In his final season with the Red Raiders, the defense gave up close to 449 yards per game, putting them at 108th in the nation. This is where it’s more question than intrigue for this hire. What sort of coaching staff could Kingsbury assemble? It seems as though a strong defensive coordinator with head coaching experience would be the logical step. Could the Cardinals add a Gregg Wiliams or Marvin Lewis to his staff and alleviate both of those needs? Lewis oversaw one of the best defenses in NFL history in Baltimore before becoming Cincinatti’s head coach. 

This is the biggest question surrounding Tuesday’s hire.

Will it affect Pick #1?

A lot can happen in the three months leading up to the draft. Names will rise and fall up and down draft boards, and the Cardinals should hope a quarterback jumps up the ranks and becomes a can’t-miss prospect. If they can get a bidding war going between the likes of the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos, they could remain in the top-10 and load up on much-needed picks. The teams who feel they are a “quarterback away” could be tempted to move up and kick off the draft with their final presumed piece to the puzzle. The Cards walk away with picks on picks on picks.

If there isn’t a move worth sliding down for, the Cardinals can take Nick Bosa and pair him with Chandler Jones to help slow down these high-powered NFC West offenses. Look at the Houston Texans with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney or the Los Angeles Chargers with the elder Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Not a bad model to follow. 

The Cardinals need help everywhere, but this class seems especially deep on the defensive front seven. Would Kingsbury push to add an offensive weapon to either protect or provide big plays for his young quarterback in the first round? I know a certain local wide receiver that’s projected to go in the mid-first round…

I guess we’ll just have to see.