Kliff Kingsbury under fire as Cardinals continue to struggle

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Kliff Kingsbury
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Kliff Kingsbury /

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is back on the hot seat as his team inches closer to another late-season collapse.

It’s been almost a year now since the Arizona Cardinals blew a golden opportunity to be a participant in last season’s NFL playoffs.

Just one victory during the last two weeks would’ve punched Arizona’s postseason ticket, but the team proceeded to fall short in both of those matchups. Kliff Kingsbury endured a lot of the blame for the almost inexcusable collapse, and the third-year head coach found himself firmly on the hot seat in 2021.

Kingsbury silenced a boatload of his critics when the Cardinals got off to a 10-2 start, but three consecutive defeats have placed the 42-year-old right back on the firing line.

Is the criticism that is currently being leveled at Kingsbury warranted? There’s no denying the fact that the Redbirds are floundering, and it may not be a coincidence that the squad is once again coming up short when the pressure is on.

An ugly finish by the Arizona Cardinals could prove costly for Kliff Kingsbury

Just a few weeks ago, Kingsbury was a legitimate candidate for the league’s “Coach of the Year” award. There was even talk that the offensive guru, thanks to his early-season success with the Cards, could be offered the highly-coveted head job at the University of Oklahoma.

Now, roughly one month later, all of the scuttlebutt about the Sooners wanting Kingsbury has died down. In fact, it would not be a surprise if Arizona was also expressing doubts about their on-field leader.

The same things that were working so well for the Cardinals earlier in the year are now being shut down. What’s so alarming is that Kingsbury appears to have zero answers for the recent struggles. Fans are completely sick of the “we have to be better” and “have to give the other team credit” responses that have become a consistent part of the coach’s uninformative postgame press conferences as of late.

The No. 1 seed in the NFC no longer seems like a possibility for the Cards. The NFC West division title that was firmly in the club’s grasp for most of the campaign could also be in jeopardy. Not acceptable for a franchise that had a good shot at accomplishing both of those impressive feats just a few weeks back.

At this point, limping into the playoff tournament after the hot start that Arizona enjoyed should not be enough for either Kingsbury or his bosses. Unfortunately, owner Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim may believe that a one-and-done appearance in the postseason is progress. However, those of us who put our heart and soul into the Cardinals every weekend know darn well that it isn’t.

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In the meantime, the head coach has two more games to right the Arizona ship. Two additional opportunities to put a positive ending on a campaign that began with so much optimism. In all honesty, Kingsbury’s future with the Cards should depend on it.