If Arizona moves on from the relatively unsuccessful Kliff Kingsbury experiment, three coaches could be a good fit as potential replacements. These coaches stood out because of their coaching experience and success at the NFL level. They are all offensive-oriented minds that could optimize Kyler Murray’s talents and weapons around him.
Replacements for Kingsbury and Cardinals
1. Sean Payton
Sean Payton had a ton of success as the former head coach of the New Orleans Saints. He coached the Saints from 2006 to 2021, winning 62 percent of games during those seasons. Another thing to mention is Payton’s success with Drew Brees. A big reason why Kingsbury got hired was because of his collegiate experience working with elite quarterbacks, most notably Patrick Mahomes.
The Cardinals envisioned Kingsbury’s schemes translating to the NFL with Kyler Murray, which has happened to an extent. Still, Payton might make more sense from a fit standpoint. He has invaluable Super Bowl experience and could bring out the best in Murray.
Payton turned the Saints’ team identity around and led them to their first Super Bowl victory in 2009. Could he do the same in Arizona? I’d assume the majority of Cardinals fans would feel better about their chances of doing so with Payton leading the way.
2. Frank Reich
Frank Reich has a ton of experience in the NFL and is a familiar face within the Cardinals’ organization; he was their wide receivers coach in 2012. He also won a Super Bowl as offensive coordinator with the 2016-17 Eagles team. More recently, Reich was the Indianapolis Colts head coach from 2018 to 2022, with a winning percentage of 54 percent.
Despite being fired by the Colts, Reich has a good track record around the league. He deserves another head coaching chance in a new situation. Reich is a winning, offensive-minded coach. Arizona’s strength is its offense. Reich could take their offense to the next level and find creative ways to utilize their weapons.
3. Shane Steichen
Like Reich, most of Shane Steichen’s coaching experience comes on the offensive side of the ball, which could play to the Cardinals’ strengths. Steichen is now the offensive coordinator for the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles. Offensively, the Eagles are the third-highest-scoring team in the league at 27.5 points per game, behind only the Chiefs and Bills. Jalen Hurts is having a career year and is worthy of at least being in the MVP race conversation.
Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts have a lot of overlapping skill sets as dynamic quarterbacks. The transition from the Eagles’ offense and Hurts to the Cardinals and Murray could make a lot of sense. Steichen gets a coveted head coaching position, while Arizona gets a brilliant offensive mind to help Murray. Steichen is relatively unproven and still young at 37 years old, but the Cardinals have already shown that they are willing to take the risk since they brought in Kingsbury.
Kliff Kingsbury has yet to be mentioned in any definitive reports of a firing soon. We evaluated the pros and cons of whether or not Arizona should keep Kinsgbury before. Still, given how fast things change in the NFL, it’s not out of the question, and the Cardinals would have valid reasons to move on.
The Cardinals have had some reported tension between Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury over the past few weeks. After making the playoffs last year with an 11-6 record, expectations going into this season were somewhat similar. Kyler Murray recently summed up this season well.
“It’s not the way anybody wanted it or envisioned it to go,” Murray said.