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Kliff Kingsbury Always Trying To Perfect Playcalling

Kliff Kingsbury called the play at the end of the Cardinals' initial 90-yard touchdown drive Sunday and immediately regretted choosing the option run between quarterback Kyler Murray and running back Kenyan Drake.

"I was screaming at (Kyler) to check out of it because it was a bad look," Kingsbury said.

Murray didn't. Because of the defensive look, the play didn't develop as it was intended, just like Kingsbury feared. But Murray "made it happen."

"I don't think he could hear me," Kingsbury said. "He kind of took it to the next defender over and ended up pitching it off him, and 'KD' did a great job of staying with him."

It was an interesting in-the-moment glimpse of what Kingsbury goes through as a playcaller. He is the head coach, but like Bruce Arians before him, calling (and developing) the plays is what gets him out of bed, what drives him.

After the game Sunday, Kingsbury was asked if he felt like his playcalling was more in sync after the 445-yard, 38-point day. "I always like my playcalling," he deadpanned. Monday he said as a playcaller, he's "still trying to get there."

"I actually don't always like my playcalling," he acknowledged.

"I'm the harshest critic of my playcalling, but you learn from it," Kingsbury said. "You get back today and see what you could've done better, and you move on. It's a lot easier to move when you win, obviously, than when you lose and think about them all night."

Kingsbury said only on road games -- where there is a plane flight home -- does he watch the game video right away. Otherwise he tries to get away from the process until the next morning, when he can take the emotion out of his evaluation of the job both his team and he did.

As for beating himself up over a decision, it wouldn't be plays like the option, even if Murray and Drake hadn't converted.

"It's usually the ones you don't call, the ones you left on the sheet, whether you talked yourself out of it or psyched yourself out of it," Kingsbury said. "Those are the ones that tend to haunt you."

Kliff Kingsbury smiles after a play against the Browns 2019

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