If the Arizona Cardinals were to lose defensive coordinator Vance Joseph in the offseason, it would easily hurt the organization.

It’s a bit of a cliche, but the players play for him and the coaches love Joseph. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury credits Joseph for their spectacular 9-2 start in 2021.

“I’m very fortunate to have VJ (Vance Joseph) here, who I consider the head coach of the defense,” Kingsbury said.

There’s a reason why Joseph could move on. The Cardinals defense is ranked third in defensive DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) despite losing All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt to a potential season-ending injury and Pro-Bowl edge rusher Chandler Jones and DT Zach Allen for multiple games due to COVID.

Joseph even had to head coach a game against the Cleveland Browns in which they won 37-14 after Kingsbury was placed on Reserve/COVID list.

Arizona’s defense has improved with Joseph, who’s in his third year as DC. Arizona has gone from 28th in 2019, 12th in 2020 to fourth in yards per game in 2021.