Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is very detailed in his approach to every week that passes in the NFL, including the bye week.
Not leaving any stone unturned, Kingsbury did some digging on just how to navigate the off week without his team losing focus, especially with Thanksgiving on Thursday.
“We did a lot of research this offseason on how we wanted to handle the bye,” Kingsbury said Monday. “Looked at different teams that performed well after the bye last year and adjusted to a similar schedule.
“They’ll definitely have time to get where they need to get for Thanksgiving, have some down time, rest and recoup but we’ll try to keep them locked in the beginning of the week into football.”
The bye comes at an opportune time for the Cardinals, who are dealing with a handful of injuries to key pieces like quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The hope is for Murray and Hopkins to make it back for the team’s matchup against the Chicago Bears in Week 13 after missing three games with an ankle injury and hamstring issue, respectively.
“The bye comes at a great time for both, should get lots of time to rehab and feel good coming back,” Kingsbury said. “We need them to be who they are and play like they can play immediately.
“(Murray’s) gotta come back and get back in rhythm and play like he can play and same with Hop,” Kingsbury added while on with Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Monday. “It’s not easy when you’ve been out a month to just slide back in and play at an extremely high level but if any two guys can do it, I expect those two guys to be able to.”
But just because a player doesn’t carry an injury designation into the week doesn’t mean they need the bye any less.
Just ask starting center Rodney Hudson, who has already dealt with his fair share of injuries this season and can greatly use some down time before things really start ramping up over the last six weeks of the regular season.
“The bye is coming at a really good time for Rodney, because he’s been playing through a bunch of different injuries basically that he’s been just toughing out,” Kingsbury said. “I think getting him rested up and healed, you’ll see [his shotgun snaps] get cleaned up pretty quickly.”
How the Cardinals utilize the bye will have major repercussions over the final six games of the regular season that include three teams over .500 and two divisional foes to close out 2021.