Part two of our coaching series for the dynasty owner, covers the Arizona Cardinals. Going into 2019 they made wholesale changes on the offensive side of the ball. These clear changes made this offseason focused on reinvigorating the offense which will quickly lead to positive fantasy results.
The 2018 Cardinals were one of the most inept offenses in recent NFL history. Here is the fantasy finishes for Cardinals players in 2018.
|Josh Rosen||David Johnson||Chase Edmonds||Larry Fitzgerald||Christian Kirk||Trent Sherfield||Ricky Seals-Jones|
These statistics and the overall record of the Cardinals resulted in wholesale changes. The intent in the change is to reinvigorate top tier talent and bring along young skill position players. With Kliff Kingsbury and newly named passing game coordinator Tom Clements, there is reason to be optimistic for the future in Arizona.
Kingsbury is the newest coach in the current wave of young offensive gurus to be hired in the NFL. To say that he is an offensive mastermind is an understatement. During his tenure at Texas Tech he coached amongst other great offensive talents, Patrick Mahomes, Deandre Washington, Keke Coutee, Johhny Manziel, Baker Mayfield, and Case Keenum. Only once in his career at Texas Tech did his team finish outside the top 25 in the NCAA in total offense.
|Year||Scoring Offense - FBS ranking
Kingsbury started his offensive career as the Texas Tech QB in the early 2000s. Kingsbury was selected in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He then played in both NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League before moving to a coaching career in 2008. In 2008 Kingsbury joined the University of Houston. There he would ultimately lead them to one of the most prolific seasons in NCAA history. The 2011 Houston team led the NCAA in total offense with near 600 yards a game, running nearly 78 plays a game.
|Completion Percentage||Passing Yards/ Game||Rushing Yards/ Game||Total Yards/ Game||Plays/ Game||Total Touchdowns/ Game|
He then coached with Texas A&M as Johnny Manziel’s offensive coordinator during his run up to the Heisman. Kingsbury was named the head coach of Texas Tech in 2013 where he led one of the most prolific offenses in recent memory.
Like Kliff Kingsbury, Tom Clements also has had his share of success as an offensive mind. Clements coaching career spans over 25 years, beginning the NCAA coaching with Lou Holtz. Beginning in 1997 Clements was the quarterback’s coach for the New Orleans Saints. Clements coached multiple teams before being selected as the offensive coordinator of the Bills for the 2004 season. In 2007 he moved to the Packers, where he was instrumental in the development of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn. For the Packers he served as offensive coordinator from 2012 – 2015 and assistant head coach from 2015 – 2017. Clements was recently selected as the passing game coordinator for the Cardinals, no doubt increasing the stock for some of the young talent within Arizona’s organization.
Tom Clements offensive philosophy
Tom Clements has coached some spectacular talent in his NFL career. Top talent shines under the guidance of Clements. Here are his teams fantasy finishes.
In addition to these results as an offensive coordinator Clements also coached Brett Favre to arguably his best season when Clements was his QB coach. Tommy Maddox and Kordell Stewart both went to the pro bowl under the guidance of Clements. Only once as an offensive coordinator did his team not have a 1000 yard rusher (Alex Green in 2012). It can be argued that Clements was ahead of his time as near the end of his tenure with Green Bay as his team was well above the NFL average for running back receptions, which I view as a key indicator of putting your player in advantageous situations.
Some other key highlights of a Clements run offense is that his QB routinely turns the ball over. This is despite the fact his quarterbacks routinely have more attempts than their NFL counterparts. His teams are near the league average in rushing attempts, but they garner more receptions and targets than average. Finally his top wide receiver typically has receptions around league average, where his second and third wide receiver significantly outperform their competitors.
A staple of a Kingsbury lead team is a balanced attack. His quarterbacks typically run free, having as many rushes as his top running back. The rushing attack typically has one lead back, a heavy emphasis on the QB being able to rush and two additional backs whose touches are typically even.
|Year||Player||Rushing Attempts||Rushing Yards||Rushing Touchdowns||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Receiving Touchdowns|
It is much the same for receivers under the guidance of Kingsbury. Typically, one reciever dominates target share, while others are definitely given the opportunity to shine.
It will be essential to monitor how the Cardinals attack offensive talent in the upcoming draft. What you can definitely expect going into the 2019 season is a much more free flowing offense, with a big improvement coming from Josh Rosen. The turnovers will come down, as both Kingsbury and Clements have not quarterbacks who are turnover averse. Rushing attempts can also be expected to inch up as Rosen only had 23 attempts last season.
David Johnson is clearly leading the charge on most “buy” lists this offseason, but I would focus on obtaining Chase Edmonds where you can. He had a prolific college career and decent rookie season. Edmonds is in line for a clear cut workload increase for the 2019 season.
You can expect one more top 20 season for Larry Fitzgerald. Last year was debatably his worst season in the NFL. It was not necessarily due to old age. Fitzgerald was coming off three straight 100 catch and 1000 yard seasons. He should be closer to his career averages in 2019. Fellow wideout Christian Kirk is a clear buy, but assuming the JJ Nelson is not re-signed, I would be buying Chad Williams. Sans his lackluster career to date, he still possesses unique athleticism and big play ability, both traits of receivers who have thrived under Kingsbury and Clements.