Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears front office are about a dozen candidates deep into interviews for the vacant offensive coordinator position.
There’s plenty of names on the list to be optimistic about – Shane Waldron, Greg Roman, Liam Coen.
However, as soon as the news dropped that the Bears were officially interviewing former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury – I was ECSTATIC.
Something that needs to be made drastically clear, the decision to hire Kingsbury is dependent on drafting Caleb Williams. If the Bears decide to hold onto the first overall pick and simply draft Williams, do it right and commit. Bring in a talented, pass-heavy, spread offensive mind with head coaching and play-calling experience that has already worked with Caleb. It’s a no-brainer.
Kingsbury was the quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M in 2012 when Johnny Manziel won the Heisman, followed by being the head coach of Texas Tech from 2013-2018. His work with Patrick Mahomes and that university is ultimately what drove the Arizona Cardinals to hire him and be paired with Kyler Murray. The Cardinals fired Kingsbury after the 2022 season, finished with a 4-13 record. Kingsbury spent the 2023 season back in college at USC, as their senior offensive analyst and quarterbacks coach. The importance of already having a built relationship with Caleb Williams cannot be overstated.
Some folks might view Kingsbury’s time in the NFL as a failure, but with all due respect to us Bears fans…the bar couldn’t be lower. Kingsbury’s offenses ranked 6th in yards per game in 2020, 8th in 2021. Yes, his offense struggled in 2022, but Kyler Murray also played less than half a season due to an ACL injury.
If you’re concerned about Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense – and typically the concern is of running the football – let me disprove that common misconception quickly for you.
The Cardinals were effective running the football under Kingsbury. In 2020, the Cardinals were 6th in total rushing attempts, 7th in rushing yards. In 2021, they were 7th in attempts and 10th in yards. The year before Kingsbury arrived, the Cardinals were dead last in just about every major rushing category. Now yes, a decent chunk of the rushing stats is elevated by the quarterback in the scheme and not necessarily the running backs (although James Conner did have 15 rushing TDs in 2021) but…that’s kind of the point.
Kyler Murray made consecutive Pro Bowls in 2020 and 2021. Again, yes there was a drop-off in 2022 even when Murray was playing, but at this point we all know the concerns around Kyler Murray caring more about a call of duty double xp weekend rather than watching film. Regardless of however you decide to look at it, there is legitimate quarterback success where Kingsbury is involved.
Kliff Kingsbury is the perfect mold hire. The quarterback pedigree, considerable success at both the college and professional level as a play-caller, and head coaching experience that provides an easy transition if the Bears decide to move on from Matt Eberflus after the 2024 season.