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Cardinals Start Practice Week Without Kliff Kingsbury On Field

Notes: Coach remains in protocol; Murray mindful of turnovers

Coach Kliff Kingsbury, here at a practice earlier in the month, remains in Covid protocols.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury, here at a practice earlier in the month, remains in Covid protocols.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers split head coaching duties against the Browns with Kliff Kingsbury sidelined because of Covid.

They opened the week of practice Wednesday with the same job.

As the undefeated Cardinals prepare for a home game against the Texans, who sport one of the worst records in the AFC, Kingsbury's status for Sunday remains uncertain.

"Right now, he's still in the Covid protocol," Joseph said. "Every day, he's getting better and better, so we'll see by the end of the week how it works out."

Kingsbury can return once he has back-to-back negative tests or 10 days away, whichever comes first. Joseph said he's unsure of the time frame to produce those results but acknowledged Kingsbury is still communicating with his staff while away from the facility.

Kingsbury might not be present with his coaches and fellow players on the field, but he's still leading virtual meetings over Zoom with his staff and the person in charge of constructing the winning formula.

"It's still his plan," Joseph said. "He's still involved with everything. So nothing has changed as far as who is building the game plan."

Quarterback Kyler Murray said it felt odd to not have Kingsbury on the practice field for the first time since Murray arrived in the NFL.

"It's been a little weird just because of the number of coaches and players that are down," Murray said. "It's looking a little scarce out there, but I'm hoping to get them back ASAP. The guys miss (Kingsbury) and everybody else that's out, and we look forward to getting them back."


Murray, even without Kingsbury, had another interception-less performance while completing 67 percent of his passes for 229 yards and four touchdowns.

Murray has not thrown an interception since Week Three at Jacksonville. Murray acknowledged there are times when, if the Cardinals are already in field-goal range, he needs to be mindful about his risks.

"Like this weekend, (Spencer) Whipple will say in the headset, 'K1, we already got points on the board, so don't do anything crazy.' " Murray said. "Kliff usually does that.

"I never want to take away my aggression. We have playmakers, and I want to get them the ball and I'll always do that. But at the same time, it's about learning from past mistakes. And sometimes it's smarter not to force something, check it down, and take the field goal – because there is nothing wrong with increasing the lead. That's how I see it."


A handful of Cardinals players remain banged up.

Starting offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum (ribs), tight end Darrell Daniels (hamstring), linebacker Kylie Fitts (concussion), linebacker Jordan Hicks (toe/ankle), linebacker Devon Kennard (shoulder), defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence (calf) and offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back) did not practice.

Linebacker Zaven Collins (shoulder), linebacker Tanner Vallejo (hand) and running back Chase Edmonds (shoulder) were limited.

For the Texans, center Justin Britt (knee), safety Terrence Brooks (chest), defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (back) and wide receiver Brandon Cooks (rest) didn't practice. Quarterback Deshaun Watson also didn't practice. Wide receiver Chris Conley (neck) was limited.