Its seems as though Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury’s relationship has run its course.
Murray, the Cardinals star quarterback and his head coach have grown “increasingly distant” throughout Arizona’s disappointing season, according to a report by ESPN‘s Jeremy Fowler and Josh Weinfuss. The Cardinals are 4-10 heading into a Christmas Day matchup with the Buccaneers.
The main issue dividing Murray and Kingsbury is the quarterback’s desire for “wanting more freedom at the line of scrimmage, particularly with running plays,” one source told the outlet — while multiple other sources said that plays designed for Arizona’s playmakers didn’t come to fruition “either due to miscommunication, a play breaking down or Murray improvising, and the disjointed attack created unpredictability for some of the team’s pass-catchers.”
Murray signed a five-year extension in July, which initially included an independent study clause that was later removed.
Murray and Kingsbury’s relationship reportedly started to sour prior to the quarterback’s injury on Dec. 12, when he tore his ACL in his right knee in a loss to the Patriots on “Monday Night Football.”
The tension reportedly became “obvious” to others in the locker room as the quarterback-coach duo struggled with direct communication.
According to the outlet, one team source described Kingsbury as “extremely frustrated” with Murray, believing that his negativity was “starting to get to people” around the building.
Passing game coordinator Cam Turner reportedly had been “forced to serve as a buffer” between the two throughout the season.
“It’s not good,” a team source told ESPN last month. “It seems particularly bad this year.”
Another person said, “They’re cordial. It’s not the relationship you want from your quarterback and coach.”
The disconnect between Murray and Kingsbury was highlighted numerous times throughout the season when television cameras captured them in various spats on the sidelines and on the field.
During a win over the Saints on Oct. 20, Murray and Kingsbury were seen shouting at one another on the sidelines.
At the time, Kingsbury chalked it up to the pair having “a difference of opinion.”
ESPN also noted that people close to Kingsbury have wondered whether he will step down after this season due to the Cardinals’ continued struggles.
Last year, the Cardinals finished the regular season losing six of their last 10 games following a 7-0 start, which sparked rumors that Kingsbury’s job was in jeopardy.
One source described Kingsbury to ESPN as “miserable,” adding, “We’re not built to run Kliff’s offense right now, and it kills him.”
Kingsbury joined the Cardinals in 2019, the same year Arizona selected Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. He has a 28-34-1 head-coaching record in the NFL — and not a single playoff win. The Cardinals have made the postseason one time in Kingsbury’s four seasons at the helm.
Although that type of coaching resume would likely be grounds for firing, team sources told ESPN there’s a chance owner Michael Bidwill “gives Kingsbury another year, due in part to injuries ravaging the roster and a personnel department in flux.”
Last week, the Cardinals said in a statement that general manager Steve Keim is taking a health-related leave of absence.
Two days later, former Cardinals assistant coach Sean Kugler hired a law firm to investigate the “mysterious allegations” that he allegedly touched a female security guard when the team was in Mexico for a game against the 49ers last month. Kugler was fired over the incident.
Leave a Reply