COVID has claimed another name in the NFL, but this time it’s not a player, it’s a frontrunner for Coach of the Year: Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury.
Kingsbury, along with Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim, quarterbacks coach Cam Turner, and D-lineman Zach Allen, tested positive for COVID last night as news of the outbreak hit the internet almost immediately after the Cardinals finalized a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz. With Kingsbury unable to make the trip to Cleveland this Sunday, play-calling duties will fall on defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and assistant head coach Jeff Rodgers.
Joseph has a history of calling plays. He served as the head coach of the Denver Broncos during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but didn’t exactly live up to expectations, garnering an 11-21 record as head coach. The most memorable thing to come out of Joseph’s tenure was this sideline report from Sergio Dipp.
Despite his lack of success as a head coach though, Joseph has stated he would like another shot at a head coaching job and Sunday might be the best opportunity to prove his worth that he could’ve asked for.
With Kingsbury out, and star pass-rusher Chandler Jones unable to play after being placed on the team’s COVID list earlier this week, I’d suspect that many fans are expecting the Cardinals to suffer their first loss of the season. If Joseph can pull this out though, on the road, against one of the most talented rosters in the NFL… he may very well turn a few heads in NFL circles.
Will one game be enough to win him a head coaching job? No. I mean, Eric Bieniemy has been an offensive mastermind for the Chiefs for years and he hasn’t had the opportunity to take up a clipboard for himself yet, and yes, he has been calling the plays over there for a while now. But if Joseph sincerely wants to get a second chance at head coaching in the NFL, he has to do well on Sunday.
Joseph was never given an elite roster in Denver. Their quarterback room in 2017 consisted of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and someone who’d rather play video games than make millions as an NFL quarterback. That doesn’t mean he was a good head coach in a bad situation. He was most definitely a bad head coach too, but now, with Arizona, he’ll have no excuses. If Joseph makes the Cardinals, one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, look meek this Sunday, he can kiss his head coaching dreams goodbye.