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Bye Week Blues? Cardinals Look to Avoid Slow Start After Week of Rest

After having the luxury of a bye week, the Arizona Cardinals are out to maintain their momentum through the final stretch of the season.

The Arizona Cardinals didn't play a football game over Thanksgiving weekend, as the team spent their bye week looking to improve their health and get a head start on their next opponent in the Chicago Bears, a 4-7 football team that just captured their first win since Oct. 10.

"Them playing on Thanksgiving was nice because Friday we had the film in and could break it down and get ahead as much as we could, which will allow us to install a lot today and try to have a bonus day with our players actually having a game-plan installed," Kingsbury said on Monday. 

"There's definitely a lot of juice. I think guys are refreshed, rejuvenated. They understand where we're at in the season and what we have coming up and what's in front of us, and you feel that energy in the building."

When it comes to a player's perspective, running back James Conner believes the bye week is all about knowing your body and keeping things in motion during the time off.

"You got to understand your body (and) understand what you're asked to do at your position. A lot of things play a factor into it," Conner said. 

"But maybe just kind of have a feel for (what you need to do). I've had bye weeks in the past so (it's about) just finding a good balance and toning up, touching things that need to be touched to hit on just so you're ready to come back full speed when we jump back into the swing of things."

Defensive lineman Zach Allen says the team saw many familiar faces at the facility during the bye week. 

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"I know past years we've kind of struggled with that (coming out slow following the week of rest) but I think we had a really good plan going into the bye and I know personally we had a good amount of people stay during the bye and work out," Allen said. 

"I know our strength coaches and training staff did a great job of making sure that we didn't lose any momentum physically and I think also mentally, our coaches did a good job of giving us, whether it was self-scout stuff or Chicago stuff to keep looking at. 

"So I think a lot of people were excited to come back on Monday, but at the same time, I think all of us, we didn't just take the week completely off. We really handled it well."

Allen continued to speak about capturing the momentum Arizona had built through its 9-2 start.

He said, "I think the good thing was that guys realize we don't want to lose the momentum that we have. So, like I said earlier, I mean, guys were kind of champing at the bit. We're still coming in during the bye week to get workouts in or whatever it may be.

"So I think definitely yesterday, everybody kind of seemed a little bit more refreshed and there's definitely a lot of energy and excitement. But our focus right now is just on Chicago. We're not even looking down the line."

Teams of the past in Arizona have seen detrimental finishes to the season, most notably with last year's collapse that resulted in missing the postseason. 

However, the Cardinals appear all but ready to not only shake off whatever rust that may have accumulated over the bye week, but also silence any doubts about their ability to win games down the stretch.