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Kingsbury: 'Our Best Football is in Front of Us'

The Arizona Cardinals are 9-2, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury believes they have not reached their potential yet.
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Throughout the Arizona Cardinals' seven-game winning streak to start the season, the team felt that it had not yet played its best football.

The Cardinals won each game, many handily, but there were some slow starts and cracks in run defense among other deficiencies they wanted to pave over. 

The Cardinals have had to shuffle since due to injuries to quarterback Kyler Murray, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and many others, especially on offense. Still, they went into their bye last week at 9-2, the best record in the NFL.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury, though, still sees a lot of improvements to be had despite the record. 

He said, “You’d like to see improvement in all areas. At times, I thought we played really good, complementary football, but in certain games, we didn’t reach the level that we would like to. I think just consistency over these last six and being the best team that we can be moving forward."

Kingsbury is hopeful that he will get many injured players back this week, including Murray and Hopkins. 

He has good-on-good reps scheduled for this week to ensure everyone gets back into it. 

The Cardinals have nine wins in their first 11 games for the third time since moving to the Valley, but the team has struggled after bye weeks in recent seasons. 

Kingsbury is cognizant of that, especially since last year the team dropped six of nine games after the break. So, he tried to keep his players engaged.

"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 to work out," defensive tackle Zach 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. I think also mentally our coaches did a good job of giving us self-scout stuff or Chicago stuff to keep looking at."

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Kingsbury said his team came back refreshed and with a lot of energy. 

The final six weeks of the season will test every facet of the Cardinals from coaching game plans to execution during big games when bodies get tired. 

Perhaps the late bye week will help with that second point somewhat.

"They understand where we’re at in the season and what we have coming up and what’s in front of us," Kingsbury said. "You feel that energy in the building."

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has previously said teams that stay the same all year are at a disadvantage. Arizona needs to adjust before it gets forced to. 

The Cardinals have done this mostly very well this season, as was shown in their two victories with backup quarterback Colt McCoy under center. 

That has to continue on both sides of the ball, even with the Cardinals in the top five in points scored and allowed this season. 

"Players understand that the more we win, the harder it is going to get," Joseph said last month. "They have to do more, from sleeping, from eating right, from studying, from practicing better. What you're doing now won't be good enough in three to four weeks."

That becomes especially important ahead of the playoffs, which the Cardinals are all but clinched to make.

The resilience Arizona has showed this season and its ability to win games in different ways is a strong indicator that it will perform well down the stretch. Especially since key players are returning at the right time. 

The Cardinals also have more veteran leadership to keep the train rolling even if more hardship appears in the final few games. 

"I think our best football is out in front of us," Kingsbury said. "I told our team that before we left on the break. There’s a lot of room for improvement in all areas, and that will be our goal moving forward.”