In his first year as an NFL head coach, Kliff Kingsbury helped quell a lot of concerns many had over the Cardinals hiring a former college head coach with a losing record. Kingsbury oversaw a two-and-a-half game improvement from Arizona’s abysmal 2018 record. He also displayed the offensive acumen that got him the job, helping develop No. 1 pick QB Kyler Murray into a rookie of the year candidate and adjusting his offense to the players he had.
“I just try to show up and work hard and be consistent and put the guys we have on our roster in a position to be successful,” Kingsbury said via Darren Urban of the team website. “I think that’s the job of any coach. I have a great appreciation for our roster. They bought in and worked hard and practiced hard for a college coach that had a losing record, and they could’ve easily went the other way.”
Cardinals veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald said Kingsbury’s humility and ability to be self-deprecating unlike many coaches helped the players buy in during the coach’s first year.
“He is not a know-it-all,” Fitzgerald said. “Some guys you ask a question and they give you an answer just to give you an answer. He doesn’t do that. ‘You know what, Fitz, let me get back to you.’ Then he’ll get back to me, ‘I want you to do it like this.’ He doesn’t blow smoke. You really respect that about him. From day one he told me, ‘You have to earn your opportunities.’ The transparency and honesty, that’s all you can ask for.”
- Per the Maven’s Rick Gosselin, the Cardinals’ special teams unit finished 2019 ranked 13th in the league.
When 49ers GM John Lynch and HC Kyle Shanahan joined the team as a package deal in 2017, they each signed a six-year contract that reflected both the level of confidence 49ers CEO Jed York had in them to turn the team around and the level of patience they would have to do so. Now that San Francisco is heading to the Super Bowl in the third year of the Lynch/Shanahan tenure, York says he’d be willing to give both a raise and an extension if needed.
“I want those guys here for a long time,” York said via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “If they want to do something, I’d be happy to do it.”
York’s willingness to commit to an extension is yet another sign of how far the 49ers have come since the Jim Harbaugh era disintegrated due to political in-fighting and a toxic organizational culture. Even Shanahan and Lynch had to deal with a report after last year’s draft from Bleacher Report about friction in their relationship following two straight losing seasons. If there was friction, it seems like winning has cured it.
“Those guys do have each other’s back,” York said. “Not that it’s been perfect. Not that we’ve made every single right decision. But when the culture is right, when you have each other’s back, it gives you a chance. You need some level of talent, which we have on this team, but if you don’t have the culture, you have no chance.”
- Per the Maven’s Rick Gosselin, the 49ers’ special teams unit finished 2019 ranked 19th in the league.
- Shanahan said RB Tevin Coleman has a dislocated right shoulder and they expect him to have a “good chance to play” in Super Bowl. (Nick Wagoner)
- Shanahan mentioned that S Jaquiski Tartt “irritated” his broken rib on the final defensive play on Sunday. (Matt Barrows)
- Albert Breer says there was some fear the Rams could lose LBs coach Joe Barry after passing over him for their defensive coordinator job.
- Breer mentions that Barry’s very much valued not just as a position coach, but as one of the leaders on the staff, which is why it was big for Sean McVay to retain him.
- Per the Maven’s Rick Gosselin, the Rams’ special teams unit finished 2019 ranked 20th in the league.
- Per the Maven’s Rick Gosselin, the Seahawks’ special teams unit finished 2019 ranked 16th in the league.