Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray didn’t look like a rookie in a solid preseason debut last week.
On Thursday night, he looked like a rookie.
Murray, the first pick of this year’s draft, had a lot tougher time in his second game. Murray completed 3-of-8 passes for just 12 yards. He rushed for 4 yards. When he came out of the game, the Cardinals trailed 26-0 with a little more than four minutes to go in the second quarter. It wasn’t the most impressive night, with ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” crew calling the game for a national audience.
Murray wasn’t the best quarterback on the field Thursday. That was Mike Glennon of the Oakland Raiders. Yes, it’s preseason.
Kyler Murray has a rough night
Murray couldn’t get the offense going, though not all of that was his fault. Arizona had five offensive penalties in the first quarter, including Murray’s best play. He stood in against a blitz up the middle to make a nice back-shoulder throw to rookie receiver KeeSean Johnson. It was called back because Johnson pushed off and got called for offensive pass interference. But the play by Murray itself was nice.
Murray looked rushed on a few plays and missed throws, and the offensive line didn’t help him out. On a third-down play in the second quarter, Murray got to the back of his drop and blitzing safety Lamarcus Joyner was right on him. Murray went down and the sack resulted in a safety. A more experienced quarterback might have sniffed out the blitz and adjusted to get rid of the ball right away. He’s learning. That was Murray’s last play of the night.
The offense had just 12 yards and two first downs during Murray’s four drives, with three punts and the safety as a result. Oakland blitzed more than you generally see in a preseason game, and Arizona didn’t handle it well.
One bad preseason quarter isn’t a big deal. Last week, Murray was 6-of-7 for 44 yards on his only drive in a much smoother debut. Murray has the skills, especially in Kliff Kingsbury’s wide-open offense, to post some very good numbers. But there will be rough days like Thursday.
Murray will have a transition period
Murray should be fine. The Cardinals presumably aren’t showing many of their tricks in the preseason. Early in the season, they could be a tough team to prepare for, in Kingsbury’s first season.
But Thursday night showed there will be a learning curve. Arizona’s offensive line isn’t good. Other than Larry Fitzgerald, most of the Cardinals receivers are inexperienced. Like Murray, Kingsbury will have a transition period from college to the NFL.
There will be good days for Murray this season. There will be rough days. Hopefully for him, none rougher than Thursday night.
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