After eight weeks, head coach Kliff Kingsbury has transformed the Arizona Cardinals offense into the NFL’s top-ranked unit
When the Arizona Cardinals handed their head-coaching position to Kliff Kingsbury back in 2019, many followers of the NFL were skeptical. After all, the former pro quarterback had compiled an unimpressive 35-40 record in his six seasons as the leader of the Texas Tech University football program. Would Kingsbury’s college-oriented offensive system find success in a league that has largely featured scoring attacks of the more conventional variety?
Just seven games into his second campaign as the head coach of the Cards, Kingsbury has done a fine job of proving his detractors wrong. Heading into this Sunday’s matchup with the Miami Dolphins, Arizona is the proud owner of the NFL’s number-one rated offense. Kingsbury’s innovative play-calling, along with the big-play ability of quarterback Kyler Murray, are major reasons why.
The Cardinals are averaging an eye-popping 419.1 yards per contest, a huge improvement over the group that finished 32nd-overall in that category just two years ago. Kingsbury has, for the most part, kept opposing defenses off balance with a plethora of well-rounded gameplans. Many experts believed that the “Air Raid” system would be predicated on the pass, but the Cards have made the running game an equally-utilized feature of the attack as well.
Before suffering an ankle injury in week seven against the Seattle Seahawks, Kenyan Drake had accumulated the fourth-most rushing yards (512) in the league. The second-year Arizona running back is considered day-to-day, but will definitely be sidelined for this weekend’s clash with Miami. It may not matter, however, considering the fact that backup Chase Edmonds has been an extremely worthy contributor when called upon by the Cardinals coaching staff.
Back in March, Cards general manager Steve Keim pulled off the heist of the century. Superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was acquired from the Houston Texans for the mere price of a second-round draft pick and fading ball-carrier David Johnson. The 28-year old Hopkins has been as good as advertised, as his league-leading amount of receptions (57) and receiving yards (704) would indicate.
The main weapon in Arizona’s offensive attack, of course, is the diminutive Murray. The 23-year old has given defensive coordinators nightmares with both his strong arm and electrifying running ability. In seven starts this season, Murray has totaled 1,847 yards and 13 touchdowns through the air, and another 437 yards and seven scores with his legs.
The 29 points per game that the Cardinals are averaging is even more proof that the team’s offense is for real. Murray and company are far from an easy crew to defend. Kingsbury’s critics better start buying into the fact that his “Air Raid” scheme could be here to stay.