The Arizona Cardinals made a curious hire on Tuesday as they named Kliff Kingsbury as their new head coach. Kingsbury had been fired after six seasons at Texas Tech as the head coach, compiling a 35-40 record, but has long been considered a bright offensive mind with a future at the NFL level — especially with the rapid offensive changes sweeping the league.
Still, seeing Kingsbury, who had recently agreed to be USC’s new offensive coordinator, get a head coaching job at the NFL level was a bit startling — no one would’ve batted an eye at him going to the NFL as a coordinator. It’s possible it will work, as he has a young, talented quarterback in Josh Rosen (even if still a bit raw) and a star feature back in David Johnson. Provided Arizona is able to fill out a defensive staff capable of working relatively independently and making things work on that end, it might all work out.
There is skepticism in the hire, and many have pointed to Kingsbury’s mediocre record in college and how this seems to be a reach for a Sean McVay-type — in their release the Cardinals made it a point to note Kingsbury and McVay are friends. Among those skeptical of the hire is Stephen A. Smith, who delivered one of his patented radio rants on the Stephen A. Smith Show on Wednesday, saying Kingsbury looks like he is a better candidate for The Bachelor than to be an NFL head coach.
The Cardinals responded with a clever tweet joking about Smith’s tremendously bad segment a few weeks ago prior to Chiefs-Chargers when he got just about everything wrong, including calling tight end Hunter Henry, who had missed the whole season and was inactive for the game, a key factor.
It’s a pretty great Twitter jab from the team account, but Smith was prepared with a retort. See, the problem for the Cardinals is, they were exceedingly bad last year and probably shouldn’t be the ones talking about past performance. Smith made sure to note that, flaming the team for putting a “moribund product” on the field and “contaminating” the entire state and also calling them out for making Steve Wilks the scapegoat in firing him after one season as head coach.
Smith isn’t wrong. The Cardinals were a hideous team this past season, earning the No. 1 overall pick, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that believes Wilks got a fair shake as head coach given the roster he was given to work with. The lesson as always is that Stephen A. will never back down, even when you hit him with an exceptional shot.