Whether Kliff Kingsbury stays or goes, the Arizona Cardinals must part ways with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph in 2023.
Last Sunday night, the Arizona Cardinals appeared to have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the ropes late in the contest. Running back James Conner’s 22-yard touchdown run with 10:47 left had given the squad a 16-6 lead, and a victory seemed inevitable. Unfortunately, the Cards defense would once again fail to put the nail in the coffin.
Like they had several times during this forgettable campaign for the Cardinals, coordinator Vance Joseph’s contingent would let the opposing offense steal back the momentum on the very next possession. On the first play following the kickoff, Arizona allowed Tampa Bay ball-carrier Leonard Fournette to rumble 44 yards on a short pass from quarterback Tom Brady. Six plays later, the Buccaneers found the end zone, paving the way for another “Big Red” collapse that seemed destined to happen.
For quite some time now, a large portion of Cards followers have wanted Joseph to be replaced. The veteran assistant’s unit plays well in spurts, but a consistent group it is not. Will the team finally listen to the fanbase and move on from the 50-year-old Joseph in 2023?
The departure of Joseph could depend on what happens with head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Steve Keim has taken a so-called “leave of absence” from the team, but there’s speculation that the general manager may not return. A replacement for Keim would more than likely want to hire a coach of his liking, meaning that Kingsbury could also be gone.
Arizona Cardinals front office gave Vance Joseph enough to work with in 2022
Joseph needs to go, whether Kingsbury stays or not. On the flip side, there are those who feel that the Louisiana native was not given the tools to succeed in 2022. For instance, Joseph apologists contend that the front office didn’t adequately replace Chandler Jones, the four-time Pro Bowler who inked a free-agent deal with the Las Vegas Raiders last offseason.
However, Keim did supply Joseph with Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders, a couple of edge-rushers who were third-round draft picks. Unfortunately, the highly-touted prospects stayed buried on the depth chart for most of the year, while ineffective veterans like Markus Golden, Dennis Gardeck and Devon Kennard received the bulk of the playing time. Joseph’s trust issues with rookie players such as Thomas and Sanders may have sabotaged what had the potential to be a lethal Cardinals pass-rush.
Actually, Joseph was handed plenty of talent to work with. Defenders like Budda Baker, J.J. Watt, Isaiah Simmons, Jalen Thompson, Zach Allen and Byron Murphy all performed at a high level this fall. Nevertheless, Joseph’s crew currently ranks 30th in the NFL in points allowed (391), with only the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions giving up more.
There’s been talk that head-coaching candidate Sean Payton, if hired, would bring Vic Fangio with him as his defensive coordinator. Many members of the “Birdgang” would sign up for that one-two punch right now, especially since it would mean that Joseph’s stint in the desert would finally be over.
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