Kliff Kingsbury isn't going to have some big celebratory evening.
"Not so much," Kingsbury said after his team got to 4-0 Sunday against the Rams. "I'll watch Ted Lasso tonight and go to bed."
Kingsbury isn't saying if he's having fun. But it does seem like he's showing more of his personality, which he has mostly kept hidden since becoming coach. His explanation of why he likes the Lasso show in the afterglow of the dominating win was an example.
"There are some real parallels between Ted Lasso and myself," Kingsbury said. "Like the epic YouTube dance video. (And) ya'll were at my (introductory) press conference, it was essentially the same one Ted Lasso had, where everyone was like, 'Is this some kind of a joke?' And then he's weirdly positive all the time."
The comment drew laughs. Kingsbury deserves to have a little fun. It has not been an easy transition from college coach to pro coach. The Cardinals have hit rough spots, and so too has Kingsbury. He has learned on the job, and trying to do it while Kyler Murray also was learning the NFL game was bound to have hiccups.
But Kingsbury has done an impressive job with this team, and with his play-calling. He stuck with the run in the fourth quarter and the Cardinals beat down the Rams. There is still a long, long way to go, and things can get sideways. (The last time the Cards were 4-0, it was 2012, and that got ugly fast. But that team was undefeated by smoke and mirrors, and this team is not that.)
He's got to be having a little more fun than he used to, though.
"I don't think anybody can be too happy with you when you're getting your ass beat," Murray said with a chuckle. "So it's a little different for sure."
The Cardinals don't have a "Believe" sign above the door in the locker room. But it's not really necessary. If someone doesn't believe in what this team is capable of doing, they aren't paying attention.
-- The passing game got them the lead, but the Cardinals grinded on the Rams with the running game. James Conner is not spectacular, but paired with Chase Edmonds, it just seems right. To have Conner carve out some room off the goal line before Edmonds had his big run was exactly why they wanted this duo.
-- (As an aside, I love Edmonds as a player and as a postgame interview. If he had been able to hold on to that long beautiful throw from Kyler in the first half, what a game it would've been.)
-- Kingsbury said A.J. Green is finally comfortable in the offense – which makes sense after he didn't play in the preseason – and it's showing. He does enough down the field that he's getting one-on-ones often, and as seen on the 41-yard touchdown early in the game, teams can't cover him that way. He still is a weapon.
-- D-Hop didn't have a big game, but he was a factor.
-- Dennis Gardeck got in for one defensive play that I noticed. It was early, and it was for that NASCAR package that worked so well last year. But the pressure didn't get there and the Rams completed a long pass. Still, it was good to see Gardeck out there. (UPDATE: Gardeck actually played five defensive snaps.)
-- Byron Murphy is playing as well as any cornerback right now.
-- Speaking of noticeable defensive back play, it felt like safety Jalen Thompson came into the game looking to leave some marks on the Rams' pass-catchers. He was delivering some hits.
-- The Cardinals were 8 for 13 on third downs after their horrible one-for last week, and some of them were long conversions. It changes everything when the defense thinks it's about to get a stop and doesn't.
-- Kyler did not throw an interception on the first possession of the second half for the first time this season. He didn't turn it over at all – the Cards didn't as a team – and that made a huge difference given Murphy's pick, Markus Golden's forced fumble that Budda Baker grabbed, and the fourth-down pass breakup by Tanner Vallejo, which was like a turnover.
-- Matt Prater had a 55-yard field goal, and it makes a huge difference to have so much confidence in the kicker.
-- Marco Wilson lost his first NFL interception because Isaiah Simmons was called for a questionable roughing call on Matthew Stafford. Wilson was picked on early, but he rallied.
Time to fly home. It's good to start 4-0.