TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals are about half of a week removed from their last-second win over the Minnesota Vikings, but images of Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scrambling all over the field at State Farm Stadium are sticking in the minds of people across the county.
“I’ve been doing it my whole life,” Murray said. “For me, it’s a talent, it’s a skill that I’ve acquired over time and continue to work at and will continue to keep working at. It’s fun to watch and stuff like that. You see other guys do it, it’s unique and different. But at the same time, I don’t really think much of it.”
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury loves seeing the improvisation on the field, especially if it results in plays like Murray’s 77-yard touchdown to rookie wideout Rondale Moore.
“I have 0 pride when it comes to play calling,” Kingsbury said. “I’ll high five him and take the win and keep going. I don’t worry about it. I could think it’s the most beautiful play I’ve ever drawn up and if they make it work, I’m good with it.”
Kingsbury added that his time coaching Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M has helped him coach Murray.
“When you coach Johnny Football, you just take the wins as you can get them,” Kingsbury said. “You don’t worry about being on time for meetings or showing up for practice some days. You just get him out there Saturday and let him go and collect the check. So, I learned at an early age, if you’ve got one like that, just let him go.”
Murray’s ability to throw off one foot isn’t just impressing fans, but also his teammates.
“It’s crazy,” Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons said. “(Wednesday) I saw him, I guess he’s really trying to master this back-leg throw he’s been doing. It’s like a fadeaway. That throw right there is pretty crazy to me. As well as a lot of times he throws with no feet on the ground. I don’t really know how he does that either.”
One thing that may have helped Murray develop this skill is playing baseball, which he did until his rookie year with the Cardinals in 2019. And as Kingsbury pointed out, that’s similar to a former NFL MVP.
“(Kyler’s) talented like that. (Patrick) Mahomes the same way,” Kingsbury said. “I think that baseball background, being able to open your shoulders and still shoot it that way, like turning a double play, helps both those guys be able to be moving full speed to the left and still be very accurate getting the ball down the field.”
Murray also said his baseball background has helped him as an NFL quarterback.
“(It’s) just all body angles and arm angles, being able to contort and do all that type of stuff for sure,” Murray said. “A lot of guys in the locker room, they haven’t played multiple sports, as far as baseball, being able to, they ask you how do you do that? All that stuff, it’s just something I’ve always done my whole life so it’s nothing new.”
However, when the team sits down to watch film after the games, they are not always happy when Kyler has to scramble out of the pocket, especially on that 77-yard touchdown to Moore.
“That play, in particular, the one to Rondale, they only brought four, and technically, the way you draw it up, I shouldn’t have to do that,” Murray said. “But stuff happens and in the end, it’s a touchdown and everybody’s happy but when you look at it, we’re all pissed that it had to happen, but then good things happen from it. So, I don’t know, you’ve got to take the good with the bad. It is what it is.”
This Sunday, the Cardinals will face 2021 NFL Draft No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have started the season 0-2 after losses to the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.
Some may call this a trap game for the Cardinals, especially after last year, when the Red Birds also started 2-0. Before back-to-back losses to the Detroit Lions and Washington Football Team.
However, Murray and Kingsbury say they don’t believe in trap games.
“If we don’t come to play, we don’t come to play,” Murray said. “But as far as trap game goes, we were 2-0 last year, and we kind of s*** the bed the next two last year. I don’t see trap games or that happening. We’re focused on this one, we’re going to give our all to this one.”
“The way we played last week definitely got our players’ attention,” Kingsbury said. “We didn’t play like we know we can. Watching that tape yesterday, I believe our players understand what we need to do to get better and I expect us to try and improve this week.”
One thing that also got people talking this week was Murray’s custom thigh pads, one of which had a picture of martial arts icon and actor Bruce Lee.
“Everybody knows my admiration for (Bruce Lee),” Murray said. “I’ve seen guys with the thigh pads around the league, and I hit, I think his name’s Brian, I hit him up and he hooked me up, so (I) appreciate him.”
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