NFL Rumors: Vance Joseph Top Cardinals HC Candidate If Kliff Kingsbury Is Fired

Erin WalshJanuary 7, 2023

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - AUGUST 13: Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph of the Arizona Cardinals on the sidelines during the NFL preseason game at State Farm Stadium on August 13, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19-16. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If the Arizona Cardinals fire Kliff Kingsbury following the 2022 campaign, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph would be the "lead candidate" to replace him, according to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer.

However, nothing is set in stone, and Breer noted "everything appears to be on the table" as it relates to Kingsbury, including "a firing, a negotiated exit or a fifth season in the desert."

It's certainly no surprise that Kingsbury is on the hot seat in Arizona given the team's performance since he took over as head coach ahead of the 2019 season.

The Cardinals have posted just one winning season in Kingsbury's tenure, when they finished 11-6 during the 2021 season. That is also the only season Arizona has made the postseason under the 43-year-old.

This season, the Cards enter a Week 18 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers with a 4-12 record. They've been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL, though it should be noted they're dealing with many injuries.

Quarterback Kyler Murray has been sidelined since suffering a season-ending torn ACL during a Week 14 loss to the New England Patriots. He's also likely to miss the start of the 2023 season.

Additionally, tight end Zach Ertz has been sidelined since a Week 10 win over the Los Angeles Rams after suffering a torn ACL and MCL.

A number of other players have also missed time because of injury, including Rondale Moore, DeAndre Hopkins, Zach Allen, Marco Wilson, Antonio Hamilton, Zaven Collins, Robbie Anderson, Chris Banjo, James Conner, Trysten Hill and Budda Baker.

Still, after four seasons of little success, it might be time for the Cardinals to move on. Kingsbury hasn't thought about his future with the franchise beyond Week 18, though.

"We'll focus on that after Sunday," Kingsbury told reporters earlier this week when asked if he expects to be the team's head coach in 2023. "But like I said, all our talk has been nothing but how we win this game."

Joseph has been Arizona's defensive coordinator since 2019. Before joining Kingsbury in the desert, he spent time as head coach of the Denver Broncos and also interviewed for the Miami Dolphins' head coaching job last season.

It's unclear who the other candidates to replace Kingsbury will be.