Cardinals Kingsbury Coach of the Year?

Howard Balzer

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been gaining traction as a potential Coach of the Year candidate, and SI.com’s Albert Breer weighed in on that recently.

He listed his top five contenders with odds courtesy of OddsShark.com. Interestingly, he had New EnglnPatriots head coach as his second choice before the weekend addition of quarterback Cam Newton.

It could be argued that Belichick’s odds might now go down considering the perception that expectations will be higher than they were prior to adding Newton.

Here is Breer’s take:

  1. Mike McCarthy, Cowboys: This is a super-tricky list to come up with, because so much of it is based on narratives and perception. It’s not really about who’s the best coach, but who’s got the best story to tell. Case-in-point: Sean Payton and John Harbaugh are at +2200, mostly because they’d have to go 16-0, or close to it, to win the award. So give me McCarthy, a really good coach, who’s got a good veteran staff, and a talented roster that’s very capable of getting to the 12 wins or so it’d take for him to walk away with the hardware.

  2. Bill Belichick, Patriots (+1000): Normally, you could file Belichick away in the Payton/Harbaugh category—he’s won the award three times, and went a combined 44-4 in those seasons. But this year, with the departure of Tom Brady, and the veteran exodus on defense, a 10-win season may do the trick. And I’m not going to be the one who says that can’t happen.

  3. Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals: Did you know the last three winners of the award did it with second-year quarterbacks getting to the playoffs? It’s true. And as was the case with John Harbaugh, Matt Nagy and Sean McVay, Kliff Kingsbury will get a lot of credit if Kyler Murray’s piloting a contender into December. I’m not sure that Arizona makes the playoffs. I am sure that if they do, Kingsbury will be squarely in the middle of this race.

  4. Bill O’Brien, Texans: I’ve gotten to the point where I’m a little confused by how O’Brien’s perceived—he has the second longest odds of any coach for this award. Houston’s had a winning record in five of O’Brien’s six seasons, and made the playoffs in four of those years, advancing twice. Does he need to eventually break through and make the conference title round? Sure. And I get the reaction to the trades of DeAndre Hopkins (this year) and Jadeveon Clowney (last year). But I think the Texans are going to be a lot better along the lines of scrimmage this year, and could have a 11- or 12-win team, with Deshaun Watson having a more balanced offense around him. If that happens, based on how O’Brien’s been beaten up, he’ll deserve consideration.

  5. Bruce Arians, Buccaneers: Arians was co-favorite with Belichick. Why isn’t he higher? Because I think if Tampa winds up going 12-4 or 13-3, the award voters will likely assign more credit to Tom Brady than they do Arians. Maybe I’m wrong. But I think that’ll be how this one works.

To read the rest of Breer’s recent Game Plan column, click here.

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