Pick Six Podcast: Why Kliff Kingsbury was made to be an NFL coach and why the Cardinals made a smart hire

The Cardinals made, without a doubt, the most controversial hire of the NFL coaching cycle when they added Kliff Kingsbury. The USC offensive coordinator held that position for a few weeks, having been fired by Texas Tech this offseason and then taking the Trojans coordinating job before getting interest from NFL teams. Eventually the Cards offer made him leap from the position at USC (his buyout was $150,000, which is a lot of money but modest in the NFL scale of coaching hires) and join up with Steve Keim to help kickstart Josh Rosen's career after a subpar first season. 

On Thursday's Pick Six Podcast -- our daily NFL show, you should subscribe right here -- Brady Quinn explained why Kingsbury is a good fit for the Cardinals, despite the ample criticism that's out there regarding the hire. 

"I like the hire and I like the fit, for a few reasons. One, I actually know a little bit about this. I think that's the problem with the hot takes we're getting right now: they don't know anything about Kliff Kingsbury and they don't know anything about Texas Tech," Quinn explained. "They're not looking forward, all they're doing is looking back. I've got to be honest with you, from sitting in production meetings with him, from getting to know him, I always felt that every time I sat with him in a meeting, that this guy should be in the NFL. He should be a play caller in the NFL and eventually a head coach because of how he looks at things and the things that limited him at Texas Tech."

Quinn believes the expectations for Kingsbury after winning eight games his first year got out of whack while at the same time recruiting became different because of shifts in the college football landscape (Texas A&M to the SEC, etc.) and it hurt Kingsbury in terms of recruiting

"One thing you can't breeze or pass over is the offensive brilliance. Not only could he identify talented quarterbacks who could throw the football, but he could coach them up. And he's always had creative and innovative offenses," Quinn continued. "You saw it at Houston with Case Keenum, you saw it during his time with Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel, you saw it at Texas Tech: Baker Mayfield, Davis Webb, Patrick Mahomes. A lot of people will say 'Why didn't he win more games?' Again, did you see that defense that he unfortunately had to deal with? There was a lack of talent, he went through a number of different coordinators and it just didn't work out."

Watch Saturday's and Sunday's playoff games on fuboTV, try it for free, and stream Chargers-Patriots and all the CBS games on CBS All Access.

Quinn thinks the pieces in place on defense for the Cardinals can help overcome the issue for Kingsbury and that the lack of recruiting concerns will be a huge benefit to him as an NFL coach.

"The protection is going to be better for Josh Rosen, you're going to see him play better. You're going to see Kliff bring this creative, innovative offense and it's going to be a better fit," Quinn explained. "That's why I think this is outside-the-box thinking. But it's going to get hammered by a lot of people who don't know what the hell they're talking about, because they can't look forward, they're only looking back at his Texas Tech record."

In other words: the things that make Kingsbury struggle in college aren't nearly as prevalent in the NFL. Yes, the talent level is higher and there's more of a demand to win games but with the ability to keep stud defensive players around and to increase the defensive coaching level, Kingsbury could end up being a home run. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories