Fired at Texas Tech to USC offensive coordinator to potential NFL head coach in a matter of weeks is the life of Kliff Kingsbury, noted quarterback whisperer.
Getting fired at Texas Tech, his alma mater, with a career losing record after six seasons hasn’t turned NFL teams off from Kliff Kingsbury who will interview for the Cardinals and Jets head coaching job.
The report of Kingsbury’s interviews come from Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, and the franchises with young quarterbacks make for an exciting fit.
Kingsbury was just 35-40 over six seasons at Texas Tech, but he has consistently orchestrated top offenses and worked with quarterbacks that went on to the be drafted. As the NFL tries to find the next Sean McVay or Matt Nagy, the 39-year old Kingsbury easily fits the template.
Over nine seasons as an offensive coordinator or head coach at Houston, Texas A&M and of course Texas Tech, Kingsbury has worked with quarterbacks Case Keenum at Houston, Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M and Davis Webb, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech.
Along the lines of his being an identifier and developer of quarterback talent, Robinson further reported the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets are expected to interview Kingsbury as part of their head coaching searches.
The Jets have already cited the importance of their new head coach in the development of quarterback Sam Darnold. The list of candidates they’re set to interview tilts toward offensive minds, and now Kingsbury can apparently be added to it.
The Jets will have plenty of salary cap space to add better pieces around Darnold this offseason, which could serve as a significant selling point to head coaching candidates along with the young signal-caller.
Like Darnold, Josh Rosen also just completed his rookie season. So the Cardinals have to prioritize his development as they search for a new head coach while hoping a bad rookie season won’t stunt his growth. If Rosen needs to be challenged intellectually, as his former coach at UCLA Jim Mora said during last year’s pre-draft process, maybe he can find a kindred spirit in Kingsbury.
Kingsbury is also considered a candidate for offensive coordinator posts in the NFL, though it’s unclear if he has interest in those opportunities. It seems logical he’d only make the jump to the NFL for a head coaching job right now, and he recently turned down an offer to become head coach at the University of Houston before they inevitably landed on Dana Holgorsen. He could also be a future interim head coach if USC struggles next season and Clay Helton gets fired.
There is also the small matter of any buyout Kingsbury may owe USC, as he approaches a month since being hired. But he’s clearly on the NFL’s radar, and he’s clearly interested otherwise he wouldn’t interview with two teams. And if he wants to leave there’s nothing to really stop him from making that quick jump. For the Cardinals and Jets, in particular, Kingsbury looks like a great fit.