In the last two years, the Arizona Cardinals seasons have ended with losses at the Los Angeles Rams. The “Red Sea” hope to end that streak in football’s inaugural Monday Night Wild-Card game.
The Cardinals would’ve won the NFC West if they had beaten the Seattle Seahawks in the final game of the season. After beating the high-powered Dallas Cowboys the week before, the Cardinals continued to show the same inconsistencies on both sides of the football.
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But at the same time, it was imperative to come out in one piece for the playoffs. There wasn’t much of an update on running back James Conner, who left the game with a ribs injury.
“He’s still being evaluated,” coach Kliff Kingsbury told Paul Calvisi of Arizona Sports 98.7. “Hopefully, it’s not too serious. But we won’t know for the next couple days.”
Kingsbury also alluded to the fact that an extra day of rest for Monday Night football is a good thing for the Cardinals.
“I think it comes at the right time with some lingering injuries we’ve had with some key contributors,” said Kingsbury.
January 10 is a rest day for the team as January 11 will be a day to look at the film. While Monday might not have been eventful for the Cardinals, there was definitely action around the league.
Cardinals Fans Want AFC Coach
Every year following the conclusion of the regular season, the term “Black Monday” comes into play, which is when head coaches or general managers are let go of their respective duties.
The NFL regular season has come to a close, and with it likely comes some changing of the guard among current head coaches. Three head coaches were fired – Matt Nagy of the Bears, Mike Zimmer of the Vikings and Brian Flores of the Dolphins. The Bears and Vikings also let go of their general managers.
But the biggest surprise firing was Brian Flores, who finished the year 9-8 after a shaky 1-7 start. According to ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington, Flores’ relationships between general manager Chris Grier and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa were damaged.
The sudden shock wave led to many fans of teams wanting Flores’ services.
That includes Cardinals fans who want the 49-year-old as a defensive coordinator.
Flores is a defensive-minded coach who had the 2020 Dolphins ranked sixth in total points allowed. It’s worth noting that Flores will be a top candidate for any NFL head coach opening and most certainly won’t accept a defensive coordinator position.
But there are some Cardinals fans who not only want Flores in Arizona, but as the head coach.
Even Arizona Fox Sports radio host Jody Oehler buys into Flores joining the Cardinals.
Flores went 24-25 in his tenure and became head coach the same year as Kingsbury. While the Cardinals have steadily improved in Kingsbury’s tenure, the Cardinals became the first team in NFL history to start 7-0 and finish with six regular-season losses.
Injuries have played a factor in the Cardinals losing ways in the second half of the season. But the Cardinals have continued to give up big plays on defense and have lacked an identity.
Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has been criticized by fans for the linebacker situation and continued lack of rushing defense.
And on offense, Kingsbury’s playcalling and time management continue to be thorns to the fanbase.
It’s unrealistic the Cardinals will fire Kingsbury after getting the Cardinals to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. No matter what the fanbase thinks, general manager Steve Keim has a glowing review for Kingsbury.
“In my opinion, not only has Kliff Kingsbury done a phenomenal job, I think he’s the Coach of the Year,” Keim said on January 7.
Kingsbury was still regarded as one of the leading candidates for Coach of the Year. The team dealt with trials and tribulation with injuries and COVID and still got off to a hot 7-0 start.
But after the Cardinals lost their first game of the season to the Packers on primetime and were hit with injuries to Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, the team went 4-5 the rest of the way.
Luckily, the team can put their losses behind them.
“If you make the playoffs, you’re gonna be excited to make that tournament,” said Kingsbury. “Everybody is 0-0.”