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Cardinals RT Justin Murray named to Pro Football Focus’ Team of the Week

Offensive tackle Justin Murray #71 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons at State Farm Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Falcons 34-33. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Justin Pugh has quibbled over the validity of Pro Football Focus’ grading system, especially for his position group.

However, there’s a good bet that Pugh will gladly accept PFF’s latest individual ratings.

The website graded Cardinals starting right tackle Justin Murray with an exceptional 85.2 for pass-blocking in Sunday’s 36-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. That was good enough to get Murray on PFF’s Week 11 Team of the Week.

The right tackle allowed zero pressures in 42 pass-protection plays, per PFF, particularly impressive considering the competition and context.

The 49ers front includes speedier edge-rushers Nick Bosa (7 sacks) and Dee Ford (6.5 sacks) along with the bigger DeForest Buckner (5 sacks) and Arik Armstead (8 sacks).

Murray, by the way, was coming off a knee injury that had kept him out of Weeks 9 and 10.

The 26-year-old has had a huge year all things considered. He played in just two games with the Oakland Raiders last season and was a waiver-wire pickup just before the regular season began.

The Cardinals turned to Murray at right tackle in the season opener — his first NFL start — after veteran right tackle Marcus Gilbert suffered a season-ending knee injury. Murray started again in Week 2 but took a backseat to mid-season free agent pickup Jordan Mills in Weeks 3 and 4. Then Mills suffered Gilbert’s fate.

Murray started from Week 5 through Week 8, a period that saw Arizona go 3-1, before Pugh was required to replace him for the two weeks leading into the 49ers game last Sunday.

The right tackle is just the second Cardinals player, joining running back Kenyan Drake in Week 9, to make a PFF Team of the Week this season — no word on how performances from linebacker Chandler Jones, quarterback Kyler Murray, receiver Christian Kirk or running back Chase Edmonds have not earned such honors.

Whether you’re a believer in PFF’s grading system or not, the Week 11 honor is a nice acknowledgement for Murray, who has taken advantage of one opportunity after another this season.

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