Ranking Rams McVay among NFL head coaches (27-21)

(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /
4 of 8
LA Rams Sean McVay
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

25th-ranked Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals

Head Coaching Record: 5-10-1 (.344) 

The nice thing about the Arizona Cardinals hire of Kiff Kingsbury is the proof of just how tough it is to win in the NFL. He was a first-year NFL coach in 2019 and certainly looked the part. In fact, he resembles former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly in several ways.  In many ways, the success of LA Rams head coach Sean McVay broke the ice for the Cardinals to hire on Kliff Kingsbury. And the team has already gone “all-in” on his success, by drafting Kyler Murray, and trading away second-year quarterback Josh Rosen.

Did it pan out? Well, the team’s offense was 20th-ranked in the NFL (up from 32nd), and the team’s defense was 32nd in the NFL  (down from 20th). So in the end, the gain on offense was wiped out by the drop on defense. Is that good? So many in the NFL prognosticating business believe so. I remain unconvinced.

Must Read. NFL Power Rankings 2020 preseason: Where do LA Rams fall?. light

Super offensive coordinator <> NFL head coach

Kingsbury is making inroads into the NFL by focusing on what he does best – offense. While that gives him an excellent laboratory to experiment on offense and create offensive plays that work, it comes at a price. That price is a lack of interest or oversight of the NFL defense.  While defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and GM Steve Keim are working to improve that side of the ball, the team feels like it’s operating two separate and competing factions.

Many NFL pundits now project the Cardinals to rise from the NFC West basement in 2020. The offense certainly is moving in that direction, with the addition of Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins, and a full season of Kenyan Drake, the Cardinals offense projects better this season.  But what of that defense? It was bad in 2019, and will only make modest gains in 2020. Will that be enough?  The Cardinals will win some shootouts this year. But the team will not take the next step until Kingsbury assumes a head coaching role, and not just a super offensive coordinator with lots of power over an NFL team.