Arizona Cardinals fans better hope that AFC coach hangs onto his job
By Jim Koch
Any fans of the Arizona Cardinals who want Sean Payton to come to the desert better hope that Brandon Staley’s job is safe.
After such a disastrous season, the Arizona Cardinals should have only one goal that matters this offseason. Even before Kliff Kingsbury was fired last week, a large segment of the fanbase let it be known that Sean Payton should be the franchise’s next head coach.
Actually, Payton is the only available candidate that is qualified to deliver a Super Bowl championship to the floundering Cardinals. Arizona’s chances of landing Payton may have taken a hit thanks to something that occurred this past Saturday night.
In fact, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 31-30 playoff win over the Los Angeles Chargers could potentially take the Cards out of the Payton sweepstakes altogether. There’s been talk that the highly-coveted Payton has had his eye on Staley’s job all season.
However, there’s been no indication, however, that Los Angeles general manager Tom Telesco has any intention of moving on from his second-year head coach. Could the disaster in Jacksonville cause the Chargers to take another look at the much-maligned Staley?
Arizona Cardinals could lose out on Sean Payton if AFC job becomes available
The second-half collapse by Staley and the rest of the Chargers staff versus the Jags was just as egregious as any coaching effort put forth by Kingsbury and his assistants this past season. An inability to sustain drives on offense and get off of the field on defense led to Los Angeles’ heartbreak.
The bevy of undisciplined penalties (namely defensive end Joey Bosa’s) in the final two quarters are also a direct reflection on Staley. Just last week, a contingent of Chargers enthusiasts were calling for Staley’s head following the regular-season finale with the Denver Broncos.
With nothing to gain by winning, Staley elected to play the starters in a meaningless matchup. That decision absolutely blew up in the coach’s face when talented wideout Mike Williams suffered a back injury that kept him out of the do-or-die contest with Jacksonville.
If Los Angeles does decide to cut ties with Staley, the Chargers gig could become Payton’s top choice. After all, who wouldn’t want to work with offensive weapons such as Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen? And while everyone is always saying how beautiful the climate is in Arizona, Los Angeles would offer Payton some wonderful weather as well.
Those who put their heart and soul into the Cardinals can only hope that Staley is retained by the Chargers. If not, any fans who fell in love with the idea of Payton coming to the desert could be on the fast track to heartbreak.
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