We've been down this road before.
18 months ago, after Kliff Kingsbury completed his second year with the Arizona Cardinals I had seen enough. Kliff had elevated the Cardinals offense over two years from what he inherited but I was concerned about his leadership style and Kyler Murray's lack of tangible progress in Year 2. So, I debuted my first Cardinals Coaching Hot Sheet which you can read here:
If the Cardinals would've listened to me then, Brian Daboll could be in Year 2 constructing one of the NFL's most explosive offenses. Instead, they made no changes and are currently entering Year 4 of the same old, same old with Kliff Kingsbury, who is now signed long term.
That won't stop me from dreaming.
The Cardinals slow start could be explained by DeAndre Hopkins absence and losing to two of the best teams in the NFL. I see it differently. I see a team sent into the offseason off a horrible stretch that answered all those questions by playing terrible football in 11 out of their first 12 quarters. In other words, I see a team that is once again being poorly led.
Instead of just accepting Kliff Kingbury's indefinite reign over this team, I've decided to inject some hope into my life and yours by daydreaming about who could be the next head coach if owner Michael Bidwill was less concerned with having cool friends and more concerned with football results.
And before I give my list, yes, Steve Keim is also responsible for this mess, arguably moreso, however not only does no one care about anonymous GM candidates, Keim's weathered far worse storms than this and even if a change is made at GM, its almost certainly going to be an internal promotion.
So let's talk head coaching alternatives. Here are 5 coaches that should be considered for the job currently occupied by Kliff Kingsbury:
Arizona Cardinals Head Coaching Hot Sheet 1.0:
1. Brian Flores
- 24-25 in three seasons with Miami and 19-14 over his final two seasons before being unceremoniously dumped by the Dolphins. Sure he filed a class action lawsuit but the man is as good of a bet to be better the second time around as any head coach in recent years. Does he have the offensive chops? That would largely depend on his OC choice but as a leader of men, sign me up for Brian Flores 2.0.
2. Dan Quinn
- Quinn was 44-45 in six seasons as the Falcons head coach, including a Super Bowl appearance. He presided over the Falcons 28-3 Super Bowl meltdown against the Patriots and the remnants of that disaster destroyed everything he was building in Atlanta, in my opinion. He dramatically improved the Cowboys defense in his first year in 2021 and this year has them off to a dominating start. Something tells me he'd know what to make of Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins.
3. DeMeco Ryans
- Ryans has never been a head coach but everything else screams head coach. A leader during his successful NFL career and a first time coordinator who picked up right where Robert Saleh left off, Ryans is another anti-Kliff style laader. Experienced, passionate and talented, Ryans would be the jolt a lifeless Cardinals team desperately needs. Plus, his departure would make the 49ers weaker which is a huge bonus.
4. Shane Steichen
- Maybe the first name you haven't head of on the list but maybe the best fit right now. Steichen is the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator in his 2nd year with the team. He has oversaw the massive improvement in Jalen Hurts and the play caller for an offense built to highlight Hurts's strengths and minimize his weaknesses. Prior to his time in Philly, Steichen was the OC for Justin Herbert in his rookie year, helping build the foundation for one of the best young QB's in the game. Kyler, meet Shane. Shane this is Kyler.
5. Ken Dorsey
- If you're looking for Brian Daboll 2.0, why not just hire the guy who replaced Brian Daboll. The results are still pending but the early returns for this former NFL QB are strong and hell, just by waking up in the morning he's already more qualified than Kliff was when he was hired.