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Kliff Kingsbury Secret To Staff Stability? Don't Hire Friends

Notes: Cardinals coach lauds assistants; Team still looking at signing cornerback

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury after practice ended Thursday at State Farm Stadium.
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury after practice ended Thursday at State Farm Stadium.

If Kliff Kingsbury is ever looking to fill a spot on his coaching staff, he looks for talent and fit to the team. And that it isn't one of his friends.

The coaching business is often about who you already know, but Kingsbury learned long ago after having to fire a friend from his staff that he didn't have the stomach for it.

"It's something I've sworn never to do again," Kingsbury said.

Kingsbury famously didn't know a lot of the assistants hired when he got the Cardinals job in 2019, after spending a decade in the college game.

"We had to interview a bunch of people to see who fits, and (GM) Steve (Keim) helped me along the way," Kingsbury said. "To see who fits, who we feel great about, and that helped get the right guys here."

Kingsbury's staff remains mostly the same four years later. Kingsbury said defense coordinator Vance Joseph helped the process with recommendations for people he trusted and worked with in the league, praising Joseph's knowledge and gravitas when talking to the team.

"We have a great roster here, a bunch of vets we love being around, and Arizona is an unbelievable place to live," Kingsbury said. "The organization does a great job making these guys feel at home."


Kingsbury said the Cardinals are still in the market to sign another cornerback.

Behind Byron Murphy Jr. and Marco Wilson, the team lacks depth at the position. Jeff Gladney signed this offseason to help but unexpectedly passed away five months ago in a car accident. Josh Jackson, a former second-round pick of the Packers, is trying to make inroads. Kingsbury noted an impressive interception the 26-year-old had during 7-on-7 drills on Thursday.

"I think we're going to continue to work with the group we have and see what's out there," Kingsbury said. "There are some good players out there.

"I like Josh. He's got some savvy (in him), has played in big games, and has great ball skills. Just going back to his college days, just a bunch of interceptions. You saw that out there today."


Kingsbury said left tackle D.J. Humphries missed practice on Thursday because of an illness, but hopes the veteran can return by next week.

Wideout DeAndre Hopkins did not suit up either due to a "vet day." Kingsbury said Hopkins is on a different timeline than the other receivers since he cannot play until Week 7. Center Rodney Hudson was also absent Thursday, and defensive lineman J.J. Watt said he would be sitting out Friday's practice.

Images from 2022 Cardinals Training Camp at State Farm Stadium