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Kliff Kingsbury Has Necessary Goal For Cardinals This Season

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury reads his play sheet on the sidelines during a game.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 10: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals looks on from the sidelines during a game against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Through three seasons of the Kliff Kingsbury era in the desert, there's been a consistent theme: second half of the season collapses. In 2020, the Cardinals started 5-2, but finished 8-8. Last season, after running the NFC West for most of the year; Arizona lost four of its last five to finish 11-6 before losing in embarrassing fashion to the Rams in the playoffs.

At the league's annual meeting Tuesday, the Cardinals' 42-year-old coach said the team is looking put an end to those disappointing finishes.

“I think this year, we played really well early, had some injuries, different things that I could’ve done a better job of adjusting the offense,” Kingsbury said. “And that’s what we’ve done — just trying to address how we practice later in the season, how we strategize, different things like that to try and be better in that final stretch.” Kingsbury also turned his attention to the play of Kyler Murray, whose production took a bit of a dip towards the end of last season. Saying he'd like to see more consistency from the former No. 1 overall pick. “It’s tough," Kingsbury explained. "Last year you lose your No. 1 receiver the last month. I don’t care who you are at that position. But I think he’s gotten better and better each year. I think he’s never had an offseason, really. We had the COVID stuff the last two years."

"So I think this offseason, just continuing to grow in who he is as a person, leader, all those things," the Cardinals coach concluded. "I expect him to take the next step.”

If Murray can take that next step, he very well could find himself holding an MVP trophy — and possible Lombardi — at next season's end.