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Similarities at QB, but Cardinals face different ‘beast’ in Russell Wilson

Rodney Gunter #95 and Corey Peters #98 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate a defensive stop in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 30, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Much has been made about the similarities between Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. We don’t need to rehash their physical builds and styles again.

But it poses an interesting thought for a Cardinals defense facing a quarterback that few are able to stop: Will practicing against the dual-threat quarterback help prepare them for Wilson?

“Going through training camp with a mobile quarterback, we’ve been kind of exposed to that a lot, but I think they’re a little bit different,” defensive lineman Corey Peters said. “Russell’s his own beast so we’re definitely preparing to contain him.”

Wilson is renowned in his ability to escape pressure. Take a step forward in the pocket, feel the defense, spin out and roll away, his speed and agility allow him to turn should-be sacks into enormous gains.

Murray has shown flash with his legs, but the rookie has understandably yet to perform feats like that in a Cardinals uniform the way the Seahawks veteran does on a consistent basis.

Jordan Hicks, a linebacker who spent four years with the Philadelphia Eagles before joining Arizona this offseason, said practicing against another mobile passer can help, but he called them “two different players” playing in different schemes.

“They don’t necessarily, in the run game at least, pose the same threat as he does, as Kyler does, in my opinion, because of the scheme,” he said. “Now scrambling-wise, plays on the run, I don’t know if there’s anybody better than Russell.”

Something defensive lineman Clinton McDonald says helps, though, is the similar stature.

“Guys like Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, shorter quarterbacks who are great passers, who are great minds that think on the run like that, you always have to be cautious about how you rush these guys bc they get the ball out quick,” McDonald said.

The “caution” he speaks of doesn’t mean give them more time, though.

McDonald said to play against guys like Wilson, Brees and Murray, the defenders need to stay in their “specific” lane. Don’t be cautious as in afraid, but have caution as in staying true to the defense.

“Kind of like a puzzle piece. If you miss one puzzle piece then the picture won’t come together,” he said. “So more so than just being cautious or afraid, it’s more so being where you need to be in the defense when it requires for you to be there.”

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