Kyler Murray’s Future Success will be Linked to Questionable Offensive Line
Through three preseason games, it’s apparent that the Arizona Cardinals offensive line still has many questions to answer.
Updated: Aug. 26, 2019 • 9:35 AM ET
Kyler Murray is the future of the Arizona Cardinals franchise.
In Week 1 of the NFL preseason, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray erupted on the scene with a fantastic first drive. Being 6-of-7 with the only incompletion coming because his receiver stepped out of bounds was a real testament that Murray could be everything Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the franchise could have hoped for and more.
Week 2, on the other hand, left Cardinals fans with a little more doubt. Well, not so much doubt, as the offense looked completely dysfunctional and exposed against the Oakland Raiders. The Arizona offensive line was porous, and it felt as if Murray was running for his life every other play. Murray went 3-of-8 for 12 yards against Oakland, hardly a stunning performance.
Yes, it’s only preseason, so one can only take these games with a grain of salt. However, going from Week 1 when the team looked like world beaters to a team reminiscent of last year’s Cardinals (one of their worst seasons in 50 years) in Week two had fans wondering what’s next.
The Cardinals faced the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 with Murray going 14-of-21 for 137 yards. Kingsbury openly stated that the team would mix in some more plays and move on from the vanilla, as opposed to the five or six plays they ran in the first two games of the preseason, which is good because a rookie coach should get his rookie quarterback more accustomed to plays they’ll run during the regular season.
Fans are undoubtedly eager to see what Murray can do in real games; but one thing is for certain, the Cardinals offensive line is atrocious. They were utterly dismantled in the first two games, leaving Murray to flee for his life. Thankfully for the Cardinals offense, Murray is a lot like Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with his ability to evade the rush with his feet. But, how long will the young quarterback be able to keep it up?
The offensive line has been one of the biggest issues in Arizona for years. Fans don’t seem too pleased with general manager Steve Keim’s inability to put in a proficient blocking unit to protect his quarterbacks. How Josh Rosen managed to survive last year is nothing short of a miracle.
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We don’t have all the data on Murray, yet. He has had two impressive performances and one dreadful one, as Kingsbury added more plays to get Murray used to the offense in Week 3, resulting in an entertaining quarter and a half of football. And if the Cardinals don’t want their fans dreading a repeat of last year, fans will need to see something from this team that proves the franchise is moving in the right direction.
So, what should fans pay close attention to with Murray when the regular season begins?
● Find receivers - With the latest signing of Michael Crabtree, it’s important that he and Murray quickly work to form some chemistry. This signing is huge, as it can take some pressure off Larry Fitzgerald and perhaps open up other options for the passer.
● Deal with pressure - Can Murray continue to make plays with his feet and throw on the run? Though he is a dual threat quarterback, some might be worried if he takes too many hits early.
● Make plays - Probably the most obvious case for any quarterback, but can Murray continue to make plays? In Week 2 of the preseason, he looked too rushed and made a lot of poor decisions, which is understandable for a rookie quarterback. However, if he and the Cardinals are looking to improve this upcoming season, the young quarterback is going to have to make big plays.
● Signals - Week 2 brought up some interesting controversy, as Murray was flagged for clapping his hands. How will the Cardinals call signals in Week 1 of the regular season, and how will that affect his game?