Kliff Kingsbury is back in the NFL. The Raiders are expected to hire the former Cardinals head coach as their new offensive coordinator, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston reported earlier today that the Raiders were considered the front runner for Kingsbury’s services. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo adds that the two sides still haven’t officially agreed to a deal, although it’s expected to get done eventually.
Kingsbury spent the 2023 campaign at USC, where he served as the senior offensive analyst and quarterbacks coach. He worked extensively with top QB prospect Caleb Williams, guiding the former Heisman Trophy winner to a 30-touchdown, five-interception campaign. While Kingsbury obviously isn’t entirely responsible for Williams’ NFL future, the coach didn’t do anything to hurt the QB’s draft stock.
Thanks to his relative success at USC, Kingsbury seemed to brush away some of the concerns surrounding him following his disappointing end in Arizona. It was the coach’s offensive acumen that helped earn him the Cardinals head coaching job back in 2019. The team took steps forward in each of Kingsbury’s first three years at the helm, culminating in an 11-win season in 2021. However, following a 2022 campaign that saw Arizona drop to 4-13, Kingsbury was relieved of his duties.
Following his one season in the college ranks, Kingsbury returned to the coaching cycle this past offseason. He also interviewed for the Bears and Eagles OC vacancies, although both organizations decided to go in different directions. Ultimately, he managed to secure a coordinator job under Antonio Pierce in Las Vegas.
Former offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi was fired back in October, but the team waited until they had a full-time HC before making a move. A number of candidates have been connected to the open gig, but we’re still learning of other coaches who were apparently interviewed for the job. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, former Eagles and 49ers head coach Chip Kelly interviewed at least twice for the Raiders OC job.
We heard a few weeks ago that Kelly could be a candidate for an offensive coordinator role, although there weren’t any definitive teams connected to the veteran coach. Kelly has served as UCLA’s head coach since the 2018 campaign.
Pierce is clearly focused on adding experienced coaches to his staff. Former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has already caught on with the organization, with Mike Jurecki of Arizona Football Daily revealing that Lewis has officially been named the Raiders assistant head coach. Further, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the Raiders are also eyeing former Browns head coach Hue Jackson for an offensive coaching job. This would be a return trip for Jackson. Prior to his defining stint in Cleveland, Jackson enjoyed a one-season stint (2011) as Raiders HC, finishing 8-8.