A debate has broken out in the wake of a trying stretch for the Arizona Cardinals: Is Kliff Kingsbury or Kyler Murray to blame for the season’s downturn?
The argument for it being Kliff Kingsbury basically boils down to his lack of success at any stop as a head coach and a near universal belief his offense has become too predicable and simple to work in the NFL.
The argument for Kyler are reports his leadership has been underwhelming and his play on the field has been coming back down to earth.
This is the easiest matchup of the year for the Cardinals.
Leave Kyler alone.
Without going all early 2000’s viral video on you, Kyler Murray is not responsible for this team’s dramatic decline in November and December.
You can criticize Kyler Murray for his play. He’s far from a finished product. You can argue about what his ultimate NFL fate will be, no one knows the answer. And you can hold him to the impossibly high standard that comes with being the #1 overall pick and franchise quarterback for any NFL franchise. All are valid questions for an unproven NFL quarterback.
But this season is not about Kyler’s personality. This stretch of games that has seen the entire offense tank is not about Kyler’s limitations on the field.
This season is about a head coach unable or unwilling to make the kind of adjustments necessary to succeed.
It's about whether Kyler’s personality would be better complimented with a different head coach who can challenge and ask him to get outside of his comfort zone.
It's about whether Kyler and his vast skill set is being used in the best way possible against NFL defenses hell bent on humbling everything in their path.
Yes, its a concern that Kyler looks increasingly uncomfortable in the pocket. And his willingness to run the ball has seemingly radically changed since suffering a shoulder injury. And its fair to questions whether Kyler’s unique personality can work inside a locker room or if he needs to make off field adjustments as much as he needs to make them on the field. We should expect more from Kyler down the stretch and beyond.
But blaming Kyler for this team losing three of four just means you aren’t willing to point the finger at the real culprit of this team’s downward spiral: Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury.
All of Kyler’s struggles right now would be far less concerning if there was a head coach in place who was qualified to coach him through it.
The Cardinals chances of a postseason berth would be much better if their general manager had not burned nearly 75% of the team’s draft picks over four years of drafts on players who can’t contribute at the NFL level.
The easy target is Kyler Murray. The real culprit are his bosses.
On Sunday, when Kyler Murray reminds us of who he is on the field, its not going to be because of Kingsbury or Keim, it’s going to be the only guy of those three with a track record of succeeding everywhere he goes.