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Short Week Gives Cardinals Plenty Of Prep Challenges

With Packers game Thursday, team adjusting to lost time

Coach Kliff Kingsbury smiles during the Cardinals' 31-5 win over the Texans on Sunday.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury smiles during the Cardinals' 31-5 win over the Texans on Sunday.

Kliff Kingsbury felt disconnected when he came back to coach Sunday.

A positive Covid test forced Kingsbury to distance himself from the players and coaches for an entire week before getting cleared at the last minute to coach. Now, Kingsbury is Covid-free and can connect with his players again at practice.

But with an upcoming Thursday night matchup with the Packers, Kingsbury still isn't able to do everything he wants, not with practices basically glorified walkthroughs.

"Just executing the plays at the tempo you'd like to," Kingsbury said. "As a coach, you like to see things at full speed -- the timing and the spacing of it. But everyone is going to deal with it. The main thing is the player's health. Getting them recovered, rested, and ready to roll again – in such a short amount of time."

Both teams will play two games in five days, leaving less time to discuss what happened on Sunday and prepare for Thursday.

"You have to move on quickly," Christian Kirk said. "The biggest thing is who can recover the fastest and be the most prepared. So, it's about making sure guys understand the scheme and know what we're trying to do – because we won't have much practice."

"It's a race to game plan and it's a race to get healthy," linebacker Jordan Hicks said. "A lot of mental work compared to having a normal week."

Less time for gameplanning and practice aside, it's understandable why the matchup is highly anticipated. The Cardinals' 7-0 record ties their best start in franchise history, a feat accomplished in 1974. The Packers improved to 6-1 after beating the Washington Football team on Sunday – tying them with the Rams and Bucs for the second-best record in the NFC.

It's the best-combined win percentage for a Thursday game in October or later in the Super Bowl era (since 1966), according to ESPN Stats and Information.

On Monday, both teams received different types of news. The Cardinals activated linebacker Chandler Jones and defensive lineman Zach Allen from the Covid list. Meanwhile, the Packers placed All-Pro wideout Davante Adams on the Covid list amid a recent team breakout.

Adams will need two negative tests at least 24 hours apart to play Thursday, an unlikely event. Even if the receiver can't go, Kingsbury said the game plan wouldn't change.

"You hate it for him; he's a hard guy to replace," Kingsbury said. "But they're still a loaded team with one of the best quarterbacks ever ( Aaron Rodgers)."

The best photos from the Cardinals' 31-5 win over the Texans Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season.