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Former Cardinals QB Palmer says Arizona ‘could start off really hot’

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - AUGUST 08: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals talks with Kyler Murray #1 on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at State Farm Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

All eyes have been on Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury this preseason.

And rightfully so.

It’s the second straight year in which a new scheme is being installed on the offensive side of the ball and this year’s concepts are tailored to suit the No. 1 overall pick’s skillset.

“I’m as excited as everybody else is to watch him,” former Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer told ESPN’s Golic and Wingo on Wednesday morning.

“Everybody saw what Kyler could do at the college level and now to see him do it against the best of the best, it’s obviously intriguing. There’s been so many comparisons: Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. I’m excited for him to make his mark and for the world to see what he can do at this next level.”

The former Oklahoma quarterback started both preseason games for the Cardinals thus far, but the sample size is still relatively small to indicate what a 16-game regular season might entail.

“All the talk has been that they’re not going to show in the preseason what they’re going to do in the regular season,” Palmer said.

“I think it’s really smart and I think it’s one of those deals where they could start off really hot. It could be really difficult to defend. You don’t exactly know what you’re going to get from him because you really haven’t seen during the preseason what they’re going to be doing the first couple games.”

Historically, lack of film on a quarterback and offense can be a factor in early success. Take last year’s Baltimore Ravens offense under then-rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson for example.

The former Louisville quarterback went 6-1 as a starter in 2018 that ended with his team atop the AFC North.

Murray only played one drive in the Cardinals’ preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers, going 6-for-7 for 44 yards and picking up a couple of first downs in a series that ultimately ended in a punt.

The Cardinals’ first-team offense was less than convincing in their second showing of the preseason against the Oakland Raiders. In four drives, the team combined for 12 total yards, the last of which ended with a safety.

Murray went 3-for-8 for 12 yards, with one of the bigger talking points being about the handclap cadence that caused two false start penalties.

And although the rookie’s preseason stats may not jump off the stat sheet, Murray was able to elude pressure while spreading the ball around to six different pass catchers for a 60% completion percentage over the two games.

“They have enough good players to shock some people and start off 2-0 or 3-1,” Palmer added. “I think they could start off really hot.

“But the adverse to that is I could also see it getting really bad really quick. Once people kind of figure it out, once people can figure out the pace at which they’re going to play with and the concepts that they’re going to run, they could hit a little bit of a wall with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback, but they could start off 3-1 and it could get exciting early.”

Arizona travels to Minneapolis to take on the Vikings in Week 3 of the preseason, the week that usually has the most involvement from NFL teams’ starters.

“Kind of feels a lot different,” Murray said Tuesday. “Actually, we got a couple wrinkles in the gameplan this week, treating it like a real game week.

“We won’t be running the same, like, five plays we have been.”

With Murray and Co. expected to have little to no involvement in Week 4 of the preseason, the matchup with the Vikings may be the most revealing of what’s to come from Kingsbury’s offense.

So, as Week 1 of the regular season looms, the question still remains: Can Kingsbury’s offense led by Murray work in the NFL?

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