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Cardinals' Kliff Kingsbury enters third camp with lessons from 2020 tailspin

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Stephen A. reacts to Watt joining the Cardinals (2:15)

Stephen A. Smith says J.J. Watt makes the Cardinals' pass rush ferocious as he joins his ex-teammate DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona. (2:15)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury comes into his third training camp with lessons learned during a meltdown in the second half of the 2020 season.

Once the sting of finishing last year3-6 and a game out of the playoffs wore off, Kingsbury began the painstaking process of self-scouting. What he found was a series of decisions that, looking back, he'd have made differently.

Some were logistical. Some had to do with practice. All, though, led to Kingsbury thinking "we could have probably done better and had a better ending" if those decisions had gone a different way.

"But that's every year you're going to look back and have certain things that you wish you could have done better," Kingsbury said. "But, to me, I think toward the end of the season, we had a chance to obviously solidify a playoff spot and were unable to do it.

"And I got to figure out a way to finish the season stronger."

One such decision will be to give the team the entire week of Thanksgiving off during its bye.

Kingsbury said back in May Arizona has been "awful" after its bye weeks the past two seasons, both of which were losses. Last season, Arizona fell to the Miami Dolphins, 34-31, which ignited a run of four losses in five games. In 2019, the Cardinals were trounced by the Los Angeles Rams, 34-7, after their bye.

Kingsbury hopes to change Arizona's fortunes with his moves this year.

But Kingsbury may have his work cut out for him.

In April, quarterback Kyler Murray said the Cardinals need to stop taking the little things for granted which, he added, was one of the reasons for Arizona's second-half tailspin last year.

"Those organizations that are used to winning, they do everything right, and I don't think that we are there yet," Murray said. "And I think that's what we need to get to doing is, do everything right, the little things right. The little things matter in the grand scheme of things."

Murray was frustrated by the late-season losing, he said.

"Not going to the playoffs is weird for me," he said. "I know it's the NFL and I haven't been yet but just playing you know, past the regular season is ... I've always played past the regular season in any sport, so it's just, it's different.

"I'm definitely not looking to get used to that. So, it's definitely upsetting."

To Murray, losing games the Cardinals feel like they shouldn't have last season was a sign of "inconsistency." He chalked it up to "not doing everything right on and off the field."

"We didn't finish like we would have wanted to," Kingsbury said. "So, when anytime that happens, I think you got to look back and see what you did differently and how you can be better moving forward."