The Arizona Cardinals had an eventual offseason, culminated by the Kyler Murray contract saga and the film clause that the franchise eventually negated from a deal that paid Murray $189.5 million guaranteed. Regardless of how the offseason played out with Murray, Arizona still had a talented team seeking a return trip to the postseason.
Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs magnified all the offseason happenings, as the Cardinals trailed by 30 in the second half of a 44-21 loss. Arizona was never really in contention, finishing with just 282 yards of offense while going 3 of 12 on third down and averaging 4.5 yards per play.
This wasn't the Cardinals offense head coach Kliff Kingsbury is accustomed to seeing, and he may have the solution.
"Just practice habits. Having a sense of urgency," Kingsbury said after Sunday's loss. "We've got to practice better. There's no doubt. You can't say you're going to do it on game day and not do it during practice."
The Cardinals didn't play their starters in the preseason, which brought up the age-old question of rest versus rust. Kingsbury pointed out the Cardinals only played their starters for a series or two last preseason and Arizona got off to a 7-0 start.
Whether urgency was the issue or not, Arizona ran 35 plays for just 117 yards on its first eight possessions, 75 of which came on the second possession which they scored a touchdown. Murray was just 10 of 20 for 98 yards on those eight possessions.
Murray didn't appear to agree with Kingsbury's comments, but certainly thought the Cardinals were lacking in the execution department.
"I can't speak for everyone. It felt like the week was good. Obviously, none of that matters though," Murray said. "Nothing that happens during the week matters if you don't execute on Sunday. Everybody says what they want to say about the week, mentality, and all that stuff. It doesn't matter. You come out there on Sunday and get your butt beat that's what happens.
"You can come into the game, wake up with the best feeling ever and you could still get your butt beat on Sunday if you don't execute. You've got to execute. That's all it comes down to. Make plays. Teams lose who don't make plays so that's what it comes down to."
The challenge of receiving Kingsbury's message starts next week, when Arizona travels to Las Vegas and faces the Raiders.
"We've got to get better-in a hurry. Have a sense of urgency in everything you do. The biggest jump is
from week one to week two," Kingsbury said. "Last year was the exact opposite. Came out and played at a high level and I
just didn't see a sense of urgency.
"We got outcoached and outplayed in all phases. It's a prideful group and we'll be better next week."