Camp K report: Cards QB Kyler Murray is pretty chill about preseason debut
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Kyler Murray doesn’t know how long he’ll play Thursday in the Arizona Cardinals’ preseason opener.
His head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, only suggested that the 2019 first overall pick will appear only as long as needed for him to come out of his first NFL preseason game feeling good about operating the offense.
Arizona hosts the Los Angeles Chargers at State Farm Stadium in front of an NFL Network audience wanting a glimpse at a team that took a hard right turn this offseason by making a heavily-criticized head-coaching hire and drafting a non-traditional quarterback.
Don’t expect to learn a whole lot about the Cardinals on Thursday. But there are no doubt narratives to be sparked by this meaningless preseason game.
Murray isn’t approaching it as anything more than a football game. But what would a successful outing look like for him?
“Complete a couple balls, maybe score a touchdown or something,” he said.
“I don’t really have too many nerves right now.”
Cardinals fans, Murray fans and Murray haters don’t see it that way. Whichever way the game goes, there will be reactions.
If he succeeds, maybe the Cardinals get a little love from national pundits. If the game goes south for Arizona’s first unit, more criticism will come their way.
Murray’s teammates like left tackle D.J. Humphries can’t even brush aside the significance of the first preseason game. They’re genuinely excited — not to play in the preseason, but to see Murray operate in real game action.
So why is Murray so chill about all this?
“He’s just a cool kid,” Humphries said. “You ever meet the guy that’s been cool his whole life? And certain stuff is just like, ‘I’ve been the man since I was 4, bro. Like, you don’t have to tell me I’m going to have a great game on Thursday, I know that.'”
Yeah, Murray is giving off those vibes.
It’s all about the process for the rookie quarterback. He’s thrown his fair share of interceptions in practices but has full command of Kingsbury’s offense.
“I just think overall, I’ve been proud of the way he’s handled things,” Kingsbury said. “To be kind of pushed in as the guy, there’s no kind of grace period or like leading him in with any veteran presence at that position. He’s remained humble, he’s remained diligent in his work habits and really handled his business.”
As the rookie showed in Saturday’s team scrimmage, he looks a little different in game action. Murray arguably threw one inaccurate ball in 18 tries and didn’t test the defense by throwing into too tight of windows. He also was quick to pull the ball and run, something that might be more of a concern with the Chargers looking to put real hits on him.
He admitted he’s going to be a little more cautious on Thursday.
“In practice I just let it go … if it gets out of hand — which it usually doesn’t — but if it does, then I’ll kind of lay back and make sure it ends up being a decent day if it did get bad,” he said. “During preseason, I’ll treat it like a regular game, go through reads and if it’s not there, don’t let it go or don’t trigger it.”
That also means Murray will be willing to take off and run.
“If it happens it happens,” he said. “It might happen.”
He just doesn’t want to get hit.
Same thing as practice. Same thing as every other non-NFL football game he’s played it. It’s “weird” to the quarterback that the preseason game doesn’t mean anything more than a chance to prepare for the regular season.
If there are any hints that the outside headlines have reached him, there was only this: Asked if he or his teammates would do anything special for Kingsbury’s birthday on Friday, the rookie had this smooth one-liner ready to go.
“Not make him look bad, try to do that,” Murray said.
— Left tackle D.J. Humphries practiced on Tuesday after sitting out Monday, while right tackle Marcus Gilbert was again sidelined. Kingsbury said he was dealing with a groin tweak. Korey Cunningham again took his place.
— Rookie receiver Andy Isabella (knee) returned to practice, but Kevin White (unknown) was not on the field.
— Backup safety Rudy Ford made his second pick in two days.
— Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones was back at practice after leaving Monday’s session to get his hand looked at.
— Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey watched practice with Cardinals president Michael Bidwill.