Kliff Kingsbury reflects on his proudest personal, Cardinals' achievements before bye week

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Nov 21, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury during pregame warmups prior to the game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals at Lumen Field.
Nov 21, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury during pregame warmups prior to the game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals at Lumen Field.

The Cardinals have a lot to be proud about during their bye week through Thanksgiving.

They've regained the NFL best record at 9-2 after they went undefeated through Weeks 4 and 7.

They beat rival Seattle Seahawks (3-7) on Sunday, improved to a rare 6-0 in road games for the second time since 1948. They have a league-high nine wins at Seattle's Lumen Field, one of the toughest places to play, since it opened in 2002.

The Cardinals increased their win total in three seasons under coach Kliff Kingsbury from 5, 8, to 9 and counting from 2019.

They're unbeaten at 4-0 atop the NFC West, and Arizona hasn't won that division since 2015. The last time Arizona clinched a winning season was that year before it won their ninth game on Sunday.

Their quarterback Kyler Murray is the odds leader for the NFL MVP.

But Kingsbury doesn't feel vindicated as he's proving naysayers wrong.

Sure, General Manager Steve Keim took a huge gamble to hire a then-rookie NFL coach who had mediocre success after he was fired from his alma mater Texas Tech as its former six-year head coach in 2018.

But Kingsbury said he just cares about sharing his success with his family during the holiday, and chilling on a couch as he told the media "I feel tired" after beating Seattle.

"The only thing I like is family members, people that believed in me forever," Kingsbury said with a chuckle. "For them to actually not hear me called a dumba-- all the time. That’s kind of the biggest positive I take away from all of it."

Kingsbury also isn't satisfied because there's a job to finish to become the NFC West champion after going 2-1 in November, a pivotal month in which wins can determine teams' playoff positions.

The Cardinals get back to business in the final full month of the regular season, starting at the Chicago Bears on Dec. 5. They have two more divisional matchups at home against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 13 and their regular season-ending game hosting Seattle on Jan. 9.

"Anytime you can be in that top position in your division through November, it’s definitely a plus," Kingsbury said. "I know we got huge games against the Rams, with Seattle last one still on the docket. We positioned ourselves well. We just gotta find a way to finish now."

Kingsbury said Cardinals coaching staff and management heavily researched how to adjust their team schedule during the bye week.

The schedule adjustments this week were based on other NFL teams that had successful returns after their own bye weeks last year.

"They’ll definitely have time to get to wherever they need to get for Thanksgiving, have some downtime, rest and recoup and we’ll get them back," Kingsbury said. "But we’ll try to keep them locked in at the beginning of the week into football."

That includes their myriad of injuries, including starting center Rodney Hudson, Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins.

Kingsbury said "The bye's coming at a really good time for Rodney" as he's played amid his multiple injuries, including his hurt rib that sidelined him between their win over the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 10 through his return against them in the Cardinals road win over them on Nov. 7.

Murray and Hopkins haven't played because of their ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively, since Arizona's home loss to the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 28. He hopes to return to form after a month gone.

"With those two, you’d expect to come back and play at a really high level," Kingsbury said. "The bye comes at a great time for both, should get lots of time to rehab and feel good coming back. We need them to be who they are and play like they can play immediately."

What Kingsbury is most proud of reflecting on their 9-2 start is how they've been unflinched by their adversity from injuries, ongoing roster moves to bring in replacements and COVID-19 issues.

They're ready to return to work, no matter what.

“We’re gonna grind each and every day, and that’s not gonna change, regardless whether we won, lost, the approach to practice, the approach to preparation has been the same and I expect it to be the same moving forward," Kingsbury said.

"That’s not always easy to do to keep that constant focus on getting better this week. That’s what matters is this week going 1-0 this week. Every Tuesday, they’ve had that mantra in their heads and they approach the week that way."

Note

Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters will be distributing Thanksgiving turkeys to students and pre-selected 80 families at South Pointe Elementary School in Phoenix on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

The private event, which will have games and raffles, is part of the school’s annual Turkey Trot celebration provided by the Peters Educational Enrichment Project. Non-perishable goods and an additional $800 in Safeway gift cards will be handed to those families as well.

Roster move

ESPN NFL Senior Insider Adam Schefter reported on Monday the Cardinals signed QB Trace McSorley off the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad and added him to the Cardinals’ roster.

Have tips for us? Reach the reporter at dana.scott@azcentral.com or at 480-486-4721. Follow his Twitter @iam_DanaScott.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kingsbury details proudest personal, Cardinals' achievements before bye

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