While Kingsbury did rub elbows with a couple of well-respected current NFL quarterbacks while at Texas Tech, he ended up posting a losing career record in Lubbock, finishing 35-40 in six years.
It’s hardly the resume that would logically qualify someone to lead an NFL franchise.
Urban Meyer’s accomplishments in college dwarf Kingsbury’s by comparison, and will likely get more rope due to this success than Kingsbury will if he doesn’t post a winning record in 2021.
It was important for Kingsbury, a former NFL quarterback himself, to be able to have the right prospect leading his team.
Murray certainly seems to be on the right track to NFL stardom heading into his third season, but Kingsbury will need to help his quarterback reach dynamic heights in 2021.
Perceptions can change very quickly in the NFL—just ask Adam Gase, Matt Patricia, and Doug Pederson.
Let’s take a look at three reasons why Kingsbury’s chair might be feeling a little warm heading into next season.
3. Arizona’s Struggles Down The Stretch In 2020
If someone intimated in October 2020 that Kingsbury may not have many more years left as the head man in Arizona, it would have been dismissed or called a stretch at best.
The Cardinals got off to an impressive start last season, going 5-2 in their first seven games.
This was punctuated by a primetime victory at home against the division rival Seattle Seahawks in overtime.
Heading into their bye week, it seemed like the Cardinals were primed and ready to lock down a high seed in the NFC playoffs.
However, the wheels kind of came off, and Arizona ended up missing the playoffs.
They had six losses in their last nine games, and it really should’ve been seven, as they were saved by a Kyler Murray to DeAndre Hopkins Hail Mary against Buffalo.
Kingsbury and the Cardinals will need to prove that the league hasn’t caught up to them in 2021.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 8, 2019
2. He Doesn’t Have A Proven Track Record
Despite being viewed as a respected offensive mind, Kingsbury is still looking to prove his worth at the NFL level.
As touched on above, he deserves credit for developing players like Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes during their time as Texas Tech, but he doesn’t have the win-loss track record of someone who deserves a long leash.
If Kingsbury can’t keep the team in contention in 2021, there’s a good chance management might want to replace him with someone who has more experience at the NFL level.
Arizona is trying to take advantage of Murray’s rookie scale salary, and are in as much of a win-now mode as a lot of contenders in the NFL.
— Lauren B. (@_laurenmarie) September 22, 2020
1. Self-Inflicted Errors
Almost no single factor points more to the level of coaching and preparation of an NFL team than the number of penalties a team commits.
Unfortunately for Kingsbury and the Cardinals, the total number of infractions committed last season was far too many to deem acceptable.
Arizona led the league in penalties with 113 in 2020.
In 2019, the Cardinals also found themselves in the top five in most penalties committed, which is a troublesome piece of data.
They’ll need to clean up their act significantly in 2021 with their attention to detail in order for Kingsbury to remain comfortable at the helm.