GLENDALE, Ariz. – Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury did not feel like the usual to call plays during Sunday’s 31-5 win over the Houston Texans after being away from his team for eight days due to a positive COVID diagnosis- 19.
Kingsbury said he felt “great” physically, but was “a little out of touch.”
“I didn’t feel as into the game as I usually do on game day,” Kingsbury said. “But the players were amazing. Great energy and they made me feel very welcome to come back.”
Arizona didn’t score in the first quarter against the Texans, the first time this season that the undefeated Cardinals didn’t score in the first 15 minutes. The offense rallied to score four touchdowns and a field goal in the final 45 minutes.
But not spending an entire week of game design and game preparation in the office and on the field with the players was frustrating for Kingsbury, who said that, as a play designer and play interlocutor, not being able to coach plays during practice. . it was a drastic difference.
“You want to get your hands on it,” Kingsbury said.
All of this made him feel bad on Sunday.
“It just felt weird,” Kingsbury said. “Usually I’ve called those plays over and over again throughout the week. [Quarterback Kyler Murray] and I have had that dialogue. That was the first time we reviewed them. So it just didn’t feel like the same kind of rhythm, the same kind of comfort level. I felt more nervous than I normally feel after six days of preparation. “
Being away from the team for so long led to Kingsbury missing a few things, like the trade to acquire tight end Zach Ertz. The two met for the first time during warm-ups on Sunday.
Kingsbury learned around 6:30 a.m. Sunday that he was cleared to train against Houston. After testing positive on October 15, Kingsbury needed two negative tests 24 hours apart in order to return. Kingsbury, who is vaccinated, has been tested every day since his initial positive test. He was asymptomatic for the entire week, a source told ESPN.
Kingsbury spent the week preparing the game plan for Sunday, at the time still not sure if he would be on the sidelines, as he worked ahead. He didn’t see the Cardinals’ win over the Browns last weekend on television, opting to follow it on his phone as he prepared for the Texans. Last week, he spent time preparing for the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.
“I felt like I needed to do something to help the team,” Kingsbury said. “I couldn’t just sit there as a fan.”
When asked what went through his head when he found out he tested positive, Kingsbury said he didn’t want to get into it. “But,” he added, “it was a lot of bad words.”
Kingsbury had his first negative test on Saturday, which gave him a good feeling that he was acquitted on Sunday.
“It was until the last moment,” Kingsbury said. “It’s a long week just sitting at home when you know those guys are working. I prefer the other scenario where you can train all week and then hand them the game plan and call it that because this way, you can’t see, you can’t correct it. You have a vision, but it’s hard not to be there all week. “
As soon as he was cleared, he began to put his game plan in order, which included the script for the play and mental preparation.
“This was the biggest disconnect I ever felt with a game,” Kingsbury said, “just because I showed up, ‘This is the plan and let’s go.’
However, Murray did not feel a disconnect with Kingsbury.
“Our job is to go out and run what’s called. I’m sure he probably did it because if you miss a week, it’s not like he was in the building around the players and all that kind of stuff, it was like missing one. practice week and being home is a little different, “said Murray. “I’m sure he felt a bit out of place, but today we added 31, the defense played very well, it was a great team victory. So, making him feel uncomfortable and we still added 31 is a good job on our part, and we have to continue like this because the Packers are coming and it’s a great team. “