The Colt in Kliff’s Stable

Background: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 21: Colt McCoy #12 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.

People are quick to point out Kliff Kingsbury’s late season swoons at Texas Tech. Yet, were those swoons ever for lack of offense?

  • 2013 TTU Offensive National Ranking: 23rd —- Defensive National Ranking: 88th
  • 2014 TTU Offensive National Ranking: 55th —- Defensive National Ranking: 126th
  • 2015 TTU Offensive National Ranking: 2nd —- Defensive National Ranking: 125th
  • 2016 TTU Offensive National Ranking: 5th —- Defensive National Ranking: 128th
  • 2017 TTU Offensive National Ranking: 23rd —- Defensive National Ranking: 78th
  • 2018 TTU Offensive National Ranking: 16th —- Defensive National Ranking: 83rd

Take a ganger at Kingsbury’s production as a college and NFL play caller:

  • 2011 Houston: Yards Per Game: 559.1 (1st) —- Points per Game: 49.3 (1st) – Case Keenum
  • 2012 Texas A&M: Yards Per Game: 558.5 (6th) —- Points per Game: 44.5 (5th) – Johnny Manziel
  • 2013 Texas Tech: Yards Per Game: 492.3 (12th) —- Points per Game: 33.7 (30th) – Davis Webb, Baker Mayfield
  • 2014 Texas Tech: Yards Per Game: 491.1 (13th) —- Points per Game: 29.5 (48th) – Davis Webb, Patrick Mahomes
  • 2015 Texas Tech: Yards Per Game: 576.8 (2nd) —- Points per Game: 43.9 (3rd) – Patrick Mahomes, Davis Webb
  • 2016 Texas Tech :Yards Per Game: 554.2 (2nd) —- Points per Game: 41.4 (8th) -Patrick Mahomes, Nic Shimonek
  • 2017 Texas Tech: Yards Per Game: 462.0 (17th) —- Points per Game: 32.5 (30th) – Nic Shimonek, McLane Carter
  • 2018 Texas Tech: Yards Per Game: 466.6 (16th) —- Points per Game: 33.7 (24th) – Alan Bowman, Jett Duffey
  • 2019 Arizona: Yards Per Game: 341.7 (21st) —- Points per Game: 22.6 (16th) – Kyler Murray, Brett Hundley
  • 2020 Arizona: Yards Per Game: 384.6 (6th) —- Points per Game: 25.6 (10th) – Kyler Murray, Chris Streveler
  • 2021 Arizona: Yards Per Game: 363.1 (9th) —- Points per Game: 25.6 (10th) – Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy

This consistently stellar offensive production from year to year manifests that Kliff Kingsbury’s offense has been successful everywhere he’s coached and that his offense can be highly productive with a variety of QBs who bring remarkably different styles.

For a few weeks now, I have been saying here at ROTB and on the Red Rain Podcast —- if you give Kliff a stable of talented QBs and pair him with a stout defense, he can win a ton of games.

Kyler Murray has been very productive in Kliff’s offense, particularly during the first half of the last two seasons.

What Colt McCoy proved last year is that Kliff’s offense can still be highly productive with him taking the snaps.

Whether the Cardinals are able to keep QB Kyler Murray this year or not, it’s very exciting to have Colt McCoy in Cardinals’ red and white for the next two seasons.

Colt has primarily been a career QB2 throughout his 11 seasons in the NFL. Because of that, many fans and pundits are skeptical that Colt could ever be counted on to be a QB1, if need be.

However, in light of how well Colt played, going 2-1 as the Cardinals’ starter, while Kyler Murray was rehabbing a high ankle sprain, and in light of the fact that Colt believes that he is tailor made for Kliff Kingsbury’s offence, maybe fans and pundits shouldn’t be so quick to pigeonhole, stereotype or discount him.

Some reasons why:

  1. Colt is only 35 years old, which by NFL standards these days does not make him an AARP candidate. He is 9 years younger than Tom Brady, 3 years younger than Aaron Rodgers, 1 year younger than Matt Ryan and only two years older than Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson.
  2. Colt is in great shape and has plenty of tread left on his tires.
  3. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense requires his QBs to be NFL point guards who deliver the ball quickly and on time to the playmakers. There is a 37 year old NBA point guard in The Valley who specializes in doing the same on the hardwood.
  4. Kurt Warner bounced around as a QB2 during the middle of his career before he seized the Cardinals’ QB1 role. In 2008, after spending a few years behind Josh McCown and Matt Leinart, Kurt experienced a renaissance at age 37. Sure, Kurt had previously been an NFL and Super Bowl MVP, but what he accomplished at age 37 and 38, when the league had thought he was washed up, was nothing short of spectacular, especially playing for a franchise that had never been to the Super Bowl.
  5. Colt’s two NFC West road wins over Jimmy G. and the 49ers (31-17) and then over Russell Wilson and the Seahawks (23-13) were impressive victories in which Colt displayed a mastery of Kliff Kingsbury’s, despite missing DeAndre Hopkins for both games.
  6. Comparative Games:

49ers:

* Kyler home versus 49ers (17-10 W): 22/31, 71.0%, 239 yards, 2 TD, O int. 104.1 RTG (with Hopkins)

*Colt away versus 49ers (34-17 W): 20/26, 84.6% 249 yards, 1 TD, 0 int. 119.0 RTG (without Hopkins)

Seahawks:

* Kyler home versus Seahawks (30-38 L): 28/39, 71.9%, 240 yards, 1 TD, 0 int. 96.1 RTG

* Colt away versus Seahawks (23-13 W): . 35/44, 79.6%, 328 yards, 2 DTs, 0 int., 112.9 RTG

Colt McCoy is a superb fit in Kliff’s offense.

Observations:

  • Brings a clam, steady presence over the football.
  • Snaps are clean and smooth.
  • Plays with good, consistent tempo
  • Gets the ball out “on schedule” (as Kliff likes to call it) with excellent timing and accuracy.
  • Makes good use of the pocket with his feet.
  • Makes running the offense look smooth by taking what the defense gives him.
  • Ironically, he was running some play action wuggles, bootlegs and roll outs and with success.
  • Involves his running backs well in the passing game,
  • Has textbook timing and precision on screen passes.
  • Makes sharp throws over the middle and up the seams.
  • Only 5 offensive penalties in these two road wins versus hostile crowds (2 holding calls, 2 off-sides and 1 unnecessary roughness flag —- and both holding calls were questionable).
  • Picks his spots as to when to scramble.
  • In both, wins with home teams SF and SEA trying to mount fierce comebacks, he scored scoring second drives on 1st possession of half to increase the team’s lead. Versus 49ers he generated back to back TDs on first two possessions of the second half turning a 17-7 halftime lead into a 31-7 cushion. Versus the Seahawks, his late 4th quarter TD drive sealed the win in clutch fashion and prevented Russell Wilson from getting the chance to pull out his legendary late game heroics.
  • What I kept thinking during these two outstanding divisional road wins was, man, this is exactly what Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is designed to look like, not only in terms of execution and tempo, but from getting out of the gate fast at the beginnings of both halfs and in closing out the games in the 4th quarter.
  • This is an absolute QB clinic:, particularly in how to win a game without DeAndre Hopkins:

No one is going to argue that Colt has more talent than Kyler Murray.

However, in my opinion, Colt’s talent should not be under-estimated or counted out —- essentially because of Colt’s tight command of Kliff’s offense and the steadiness he brings not only to the offense, but to the entire team, when he’s under center.

Thus, with the Kyler Murray contract situation twisting in the wind, it is comforting to know that Colt has secured his place in Kliff’s stable of QBs for the next two years.

Kliff to Colt: “saddle up, giddy-up and hook’em horns, #12.”

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