Arizona Cardinals hire Kliff Kingsbury as head coach

The Arizona Cardinals look to have their next head coach after a tumultuous season under former headman Steve Wilks.

Announced by the club Tuesday, Arizona has struck a deal to make former Texas Tech University head coach Kliff Kingsbury their next head coach. Despite taking a job to become the offensive coordinator at USC, Kingsbury, who was initially blocked from interviewing for NFL head coaching gigs, was given the go-ahead by USC to try his luck in the NFL where the Cardinals were among the teams to leap at the opportunity to bring him aboard.

While Wilks was a more defensive-minded coach; the Cardinals are signaling a return to an offensive-geared system that still features do-everything running back David Johnson and a solid young quarterback prospect in Josh Rosen coming off an up-and-down rookie campaign. Kingsbury's specialty with the spread coming out of the Big 12 conference should help to innovate the Cardinals offense and improve both players after a rough season.

With Kingsbury at the helm, the Cardinals are hoping to get back to the type of dynamic offenses former head coach Bruce Arians employed just two seasons ago. Arians retired following the 2017 season after five mostly successful seasons, which included an NFC championship appearance in 2015. The Cardinals made the playoffs in two of their first three seasons under Arians but had back-to-back subpar seasons before he ultimately retired. They finished 7-8-1 in 2016 and 8-8 in 2017 in large part due to injuries. 

They fell further under Wilks in 2018 and finished with a 3-13 record and placed fourth in the NFC West for the first time since 2012 -- the final year of the Ken Whisenhunt era. The Cardinals fired Wilks on the dreaded Black Monday in the NFL despite just one season at the helm and a rookie quarterback under center.

Meanwhile, Kingsbury has had a weird last few months as well. After a solid 5-2 start to the 2018 season at Texas Tech, Kingsbury's team dropped their final five games to finish 5-7 and miss any bowl game opportunities. Bad finishes due to poor defenses marred Kingsbury's six-year tenure at Tech. Despite perennially having a top-25 offense including ranking second and fifth in 2015 and 2016 respectively, the Red Raiders never finished with a record above 8-5. After winning his first seven games in 2013 during his rookie campaign, they lost five-straight to end the year at 7-5 but rebounded to upset Arizona State in their bowl game. He finished 4-8 in 2014, 7-6 in 2015, 5-7 in 2016, and 6-7 in 2017.

Now, with the Cardinals, Kingsbury brings his Air Raid offense to the big-time to see if he can correct the NFC West's last place team's course. The Cardinals finished dead last in point and yards on offense in 2018 by having one of the worst passing and rushing attacks in all of football. Their rookie quarterback finished with 11 touchdowns to 14 interceptions along with 2,278 passing yards on 55 percent passing. 

The Cardinals offense and team has nowhere to go but up. They believe Kingsbury is the man to take them there in 2019. 

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