Kingsbury excited about Cardinals’ first win after fighting adversity
Life as a winless head coach and rookie quarterback in the NFL isn’t easy. Thankfully, after the Arizona Cardinals’ first win on Sunday, head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray are no longer living that life
“I was really excited for our team. I think they’ve handled the first part of the season really well through some adversity,” Kingsbury told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Monday. “The leadership’s been great, their attitude, their effort every day at the facility has been great, and so to get that reward, it was fun to see those guys enjoy it.”
This season has had its growing pains for the Cardinals. From a tough start to the season to bringing in rookies to fill positions, the Cardinals have finally gotten out of the basement with Sunday’s win.
“I am a rookie head coach from college,” Kingsbury said. “For those guys to fight the way they’ve been fighting and to buy into what we’re trying to do, and find a way to get a win, that meant a lot to me personally and our staff as well.”
This season has been a work in progress for the Cardinals this season. While they improved by going for it on fourth-down more, Kingsbury said there’s still room for improvement.
“We would’ve liked to score more, obviously, but that’s a work in progress and we’re doing some really good things. We did see some improvement down there on tape. We’ve just got to continue to get better.”
Kingsbury noted part of that improvement is mixing in the run and the pass game to not make the team’s offense so one-dimensional. When they mix it up, Murray is a hard quarterback to stop.
“We’re going to build it around our personnel, and if we can run it a bunch and be successful, we’re going to do that,” Kingsbury said.
Defensively, the Cardinals have had to adjust this season without veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson, but this week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons will be the last game of Peterson’s suspension before he’s allowed to return for the team’s Week 7 game against the New York Giants.
“Patrick Peterson is one of the premiere cover corners maybe of all time when you really look at it. We know we have some young guys playing that have to get better in a hurry and grow up in a hurry, but I definitely think Pat will help,” Kingsbury said.
Recently, the team’s turned to rookie safeties Jalen Thompson and Deionte Thompson. Jalen Thompson played 45 defensive snaps and five special teams’ snaps Sunday, while Deionte Thompson tallied 43 defensive snaps and 17 special teams snaps.
“They were all over the field, some good some bad,” Kingsbury said. “It’s going to be a process with all of those rookies as the more games they play, the more they see, the better they’ll get.”
While the Thompson duo will continue to get better, the added presence of Peterson back for the Cardinals will provide more guidance to the team as they continue to find their rhythm.
“We’d like to be more consistent, we’d like to be more balanced like we were on Sunday,” Kingsbury said. “If we can just stay on schedule and be in ball games we’ll be able to do that.”