Kliff Kingsbury is reportedly heading back to the NFL to join Antonio Pierce’s staff on the Las Vegas Raiders as the new offensive coordinator, according to multiple reports.
A deal is expected to be finalized soon, NFL Network reported.
Kingsbury served as USC’s senior offensive analyst and quarterbacks coach last season, working alongside the projected No. 1 overall pick, Caleb Williams.
The Chicago Bears, owners of the first overall selection in April’s 2024 NFL Draft, also interviewed Kingsbury for the same job on their staff, but he’s staying out west to join an intriguing offense.
When Pierce was named interim head coach after Josh McDaniels was fired, he went with rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell over veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, who signed with the club for three years during the offseason.
It’s also worth noting Pierce was adamant about getting back to the run game, and Kingsbury is well known for his Air Raid offense that made him popular with Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield at Texas Tech as their head coach and at Texas A&M with Johnny Manziel.
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He brought that offense to the Arizona Cardinals, where he served four seasons as head coach before being fired in 2022.
His offense ranked sixth and eighth, respectively, in total yards per game in 2020 and 2021 with Kyler Murray at quarterback, though struggles emerged in 2022, especially since Murray tore an ACL against the New England Patriots to end his season prematurely.
Kingsbury will work with Pierce and the rest of the staff to see who will start the season at quarterback, and it’s fair to say there will be a competition at the position come training camp.
There’s also the question of what the Raiders will do with Josh Jacobs this offseason after slapping him with the franchise tag for 2023 following his rookie contract. Jacobs, like other top running backs in the NFL, wants a long-term deal.
However, the Raiders can slap the franchise tag on him again.
Kingsbury should, however, look forward to working with receivers like Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers, who each played well for the Raiders this season. Adams finished with 103 receptions for 1,144 yards and eight touchdowns despite the quarterback inconsistencies in 2023.
For a team looking to make some noise in a tough AFC West that now includes Jim Harbaugh in Los Angeles and the Kansas City Chiefs making the Super Bowl again, Kingsbury has a tall task of making the Raiders’ offense a formidable group in 2024.
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