Business as usual for Arizona’s Kyler Murray with season opener on horizon
TEMPE, Ariz. — The inaugural week of the regular season has finally arrived.
Week 1 is officially upon us.
A time where expectations can either be met head-on, or quickly feel out of reach.
Even with the eyes of the entire National Football League peering in, for Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and Co., it’s business as usual as they prepare for Sunday’s tilt with the Detroit Lions.
“I’m chilling, excited for Sunday, obviously knowing it’s a big day for everybody. Start of the season,” Murray said after practice Wednesday. “But we want to start it off right, the right way, and that’s with a win.
“So preparing like any other season for me and just going in and just preparing myself for this game.”
The excitement and anticipation can get the best of players. Especially rookies. Murray isn’t like other rookies, though, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
“What you see is what you get,” Kingsbury said of his QB and their relationship. “He’s not going to be over the top rainbows and sunshine with you and I like that because that’s how he carries himself. And he’s very confident, very competitive. I like where he’s at.”
And while a lot rides on the shoulders of Arizona’s signal-caller of the future, he’s not the only one on the sidelines.
Luckily for the Cardinals, it seems Murray’s “chill” mentality isn’t the only one brewing in the locker room.
“Nobody’s tensing up just because it’s game week,” Murray said. “Obviously, the energy’s been different but for us, it’s been the same. You know just game planning, practicing, obviously taking it up a notch, but like I said, nobody’s stressing out over here.”
Murray was on limited display in the preseason, recording 193 yards on 23 of his 36 passing attempts over three games. But the QB showed improvement in the exhibitions, and most notably, the ability to make plays at the highest level.
But that’s preseason play, where games don’t matter in the win column.
Sunday marks a whole new beast.
While Murray’s demeanor may be calm, cool and collected, there’s more to the NFL than just having a good mindset.
“I’m very excited, but we still have to execute what’s called at a high level,” Murray said. “If we don’t, you lose the game.
“So for us, we know the plan and we know it well right now so it’s on us to go out there Sunday and make it happen.”
The unknown surrounding Murray and the Cardinals provides quite the challenge for the Lions.
Not only does Lions head coach Matt Patricia have the task of trying to dissect Arizona’s new-look offense, he also has to deal with a dual-threat in Murray.
“He’s making decisions, he’s getting it out quick and they’re just trying to keep their offense moving in a positive direction,” Patricia told the Detroit media. “Obviously, his athleticism and his escapability – I think the thing that’s amazing about him is he just gets to top speed right away.
“It doesn’t take him very long. He’s just moving at top speed before everyone else is, and he just turns all those plays into huge explosive plays.”
With the Cardinals revealing as little as possible throughout training camp and preseason, the Lions are having to look back at college film, as well as Murray’s snaps in the exhibition games, to prepare for the season opener at State Farm Stadium. Detroit even added former Cardinals quarterback Chad Kanoff to help give them some kind of edge.
“Nobody knows what we’re going to do, or what it’s going to look like, so we’ll kinda take it one game at a time.” Kingsbury said when asked about the offense being a success. “[The Cardinals’ type of offense] has never been used in the NFL. I know Chip [Kelly] did a version of what he does but there’s only one way to find out.”
– Center A.Q. Shipley on being named a captain:
“It’s a great honor. It’s a peer vote, so anytime you get the respect of your teammates it means a heck of a great deal to someone. I was pleasantly surprised after practice when we heard that yesterday.”