Billick: Kingsbury Hire "Bit Of A Head-Scratcher"

The Arizona Cardinals have hired Kliff Kingsbury, who went 35-40 in six seasons at Texas Tech

Tiki and Tierney
January 08, 2019 - 6:54 pm

USA Today Images


Kliff Kingsbury is on his third job since Thanksgiving. 

Fired by Texas Tech on Nov. 25, Kingsbury was hired as USC’s offensive coordinator on Dec. 5. As of Tuesday, he is the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.


“This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher,” NFL Network analyst Brian Billick said on Tiki & Tierney. “I’ve said it for a long time: this is a general manager’s league now. We seem to be in a phase where we’re looking for the next Sean McVay or Matt Nagy. We’re going to find this offensive guru, quarterback whisperer, and hire him. Don’t worry about personnel, don’t worry about the cap – don’t about any of that stuff. We’re going to lock you in your office, feed you your meals underneath the door, and come up with these brilliant game plans.”

There’s just one problem: Kingsbury, 39, didn’t win a lot in college. In fact, he went 35-40 in six seasons in Lubbock and replaces Steve Wilks, who went 3-13 in his lone season in Arizona.

Translation: Kingsbury is going to need a lot of help.

“When you go into these interviews, the No. 1 question that you have to answer is, ‘Okay, who’s going to be on your staff?’” Billick said. “I’m sure they’ve thought about that. No matter how you cut this, this is not a (lock) hire. Going into the NFL when you’ve had no NFL experience – just like being an NFL coach and going to the college game, I’m not saying it’s tougher or you got to be a better coach to be in the NFL, but it’s a different environment now dealing with that pro personnel. It’s a little bit different.”

McVay and Nagy have succeeded with the Rams and Bears, respectively, in part because they have great staffs – and great defensive coordinators in Wade Phillips and Vic Fangio, respectively.

“Matt Nagy and Sean McVay came in, did a brilliant job and were winning, and so they’re all in,” Billick said of the Bears and Rams. “What’s going to be the challenge is when you have a young coach that does not have that pedigree, does not come out of the NFL – and if they struggle early, that’s a different circumstance. I applaud Arizona for thinking outside the box, and they’re obviously bought in to Josh Rosen and they brought in a guy to develop him. That part I get. But we’ll see. This one is probably a little above my pay grade, and we’ll revisit this many times."