WEEK 6 – In a state as large as Texas, sometimes, it’s almost inevitable that a star from your alma mater, ends up going head to head with your favorite sports team. For some, it’s vindication. For others, agony. Such was the case on Monday Night Football, as the Arizona Cardinals came to Arlington to face the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s hard to believe that Kliff Kingsbury can be so polarizing to football fans, and somehow even more so to Texas Tech fans. From national media pundits wondering how Kingsbury can fail upward after having a losing record at Tech, to Red Raider fans arguing the circumstances surrounding his tenure in Lubbock, to ESPN doing a special article on his “brilliant mind” hours before kickoff on Monday night, Kingsbury is both dismissed and captivating all at once.
After taking over the worst team in the NFL early in 2019, and having moderate success in his first NFL season, the stats surrounding his 2020 campaign are even more impressive than his record. Admittedly, the Cardinals schedule is backloaded and his toughest tests are before him and there is an argument to be made that his team should be undefeated instead of 4-2, but going beyond the record, is showing some astounding improvement.
Firstly, the Cardinals defense, to this point, is the best Kingsbury has had at any level of his coaching career. Currently ranked 2nd in the NFL in points against per game, 5th in total points against, and 13th in total defense (YPG).
Secondly, while being thought of as an Air-Raid coach, his offense the last two years has set the franchise record for rushing yards per carry; 5.03 in 2019 and 5.28 through six games this year.
All the while, developing Kyler Murray into one of the best young QB’s in the NFL today. Even with a subpar performance on Monday night, completing just 9 passes for 188 yards, Murray’s QBR is ranked 10th, just 0.4 behind reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson.
The arrival of Kingsbury, along with picking Kyler Murray has invigorated a franchise who many believe is still at least a year away from seriously contending for a playoff spot, but maybe arriving ahead of schedule as they compete in the toughest division in the NFL.
Just how important is the right coach with the right quarterback?
We’ve all seen Manziel without Kingsbury; Murray without Riley/Kingsbury; Mayfield without Kingsbury/Riley; and Mahomes without Kingsbury.
Mahomes is the obvious outlier here, landing with Eric Bieniemy. But that may even further my point. To be a king… you have to have a kingmaker.
The Kingmakers – No. 2
Kliff Kinsgbury moves the Cardinals to 4-2 after a dominating win over the Cowboys
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