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Kingsbury Strives to Keep Cardinals Players Fresh

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has adjusted schedules, especially on Wednesdays to practice smarter and reduce wear and tear.

Three days after another win on the road against the physical San Francisco 49ers and with the injury list mounting, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury made a significant adjustment to the team’s routine Wednesday when he jettisoned regular practice.

Even if he tried to avoid a question about it.

When asked if everything was virtual because of COVID-19 and if there is a walkthrough with everything being limited, Kingsbury said, “That's a great question. I will refer to Mark Dalton on that for an email later.”

It was surely odd that a decision made by the head coach would be handed off to the team’s senior vice president of media relations.

To which Dalton replied, “Not COVID related. Just walkthrough related.”

That didn’t seem that difficult.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury during practice at Dignity Health Training Facility.

Anyway, during training camp, Kingsbury addressed on numerous occasions the way the team had finished the 2020 season and adjustments he might make going forward.

Asked Wednesday what has been done, Kingsbury didn’t give away much, even saying, “Yeah, I don't want to give away our secret right now.”

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However, he did provide a glimpse of the philosophy put in place that included the Wednesday schedule.

“We definitely made some adjustments at this juncture in our season to really more of a Wednesday than anything,” Kingsbury said. “Last year, Wednesday was fairly intense throughout the season, and we were able to make some adjustments that I think have helped guys feel fresh, particularly some of the veteran guys and feel more ready to go when Sunday rolls around.”

As for the possibility of not working as hard this week, he said, “No, we'll practice. But Wednesday, we'll continue to be smarter as we monitor who's up, who's not and really try to get to the bye week with that in mind. After the bye week and once we're refreshed, reenergized, we'll take it from there. But as we have a bunch of injuries mounting and head towards that point, we're going to be smart.”

Tuesday, wide receiver Christian Kirk provided a foreshadowing of what these next two weeks of practice will look like and how it came about.

“I think it's more efficient,” Kirk said. “Especially because we have such a veteran team, Kliff has done a great job of really listening to those guys, especially the captains, getting them together at the beginning of the week, and at the end of the weekend, just asking, ‘How's the team, how's everybody's body feeling?’ If guys are banged up. 

"We're coming off a physical game, he's not afraid to maybe cut some reps back or make certain periods a little more lighter than what they normally are just to help guys get their bodies back.

“Because we really believe in our preparation, in our walkthrough periods and in the classroom. So, we know from an assignment standpoint, we're ready to play and that we do a great job in that preparation-wise. But he's done a great job of just listening to guys, listen to how their bodies are feeling.”

With the team’s bye coming as late as it is this season (Week 12) and already having a Thursday game, Kirk said everyone is more cognizant of taking care of themselves.

He said, “It's a lot more emphasis, especially going into these last two games (before the bye) of really just honing in on your recovery and making sure that (our bodies are) in tip-top shape.”