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Warner, Palmer on what Cardinals’ Kyler Murray is missing without OTAs

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray throws during practice Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/ArizonaSports)

Through all the success and growth Kyler Murray had in his first year as Arizona Cardinals quarterback, two former Cardinals Pro Bowl passers see another reason to be excited about him.

I don’t think he has any idea how to play the position yet, and that to me is the exciting part,” Kurt Warner said on Doug & Wolf’s Cardinals QB1 roundtable on Arizona Sports.

Murray needs to improve his timing and anticipation, Warner said. He needs to become a stronger decision-maker and continue getting accustomed to the game at the pro level.

“Even as he was trying to figure out the league and figure out how to play the position … he still was able to make so many plays and give his team a chance in so many games,” Warner said.

“I think the sky is the limit if he can continue to improve year in and year out with some of those other things that he didn’t do extremely well.”

But that growth has been relatively stalled. The coronavirus has forced organized team activities, which started last year on May 20, to be delayed. That will impede the progress of Murray and other quarterbacks entering their crucial second season.

Carson Palmer said OTAs for quarterbacks aren’t just about throwing some passes, watching film and then going home.

Once practice ends in the afternoon, the team gathers to watch film. As the coaches give critique and instruction, it’s the quarterback who has the opportunity to take notes and work out mistakes with his teammates.

Much of it isn’t strictly on-the-field activity. After a film session in which coaches critique play — sometimes aggressively — confidence can be low, especially if it’s a player fighting to make an NFL roster.

It’s up to the quarterback to keep teammates’ heads up and push them to keep going.

“You’re coaching, you’re teaching, but some of the times too, you’re a shrink. You’re getting inside of some guys’ heads,” Palmer said. “It’s such an overwhelming time of year for a lot of guys.”

Murray is still learning how to do all that. He’ll have a new group of players in his offensive corps, whether that’s new receiver DeAndre Hopkins, undrafted free agents or journeymen looking for a spot in the league.

Of course, some of the notes quarterbacks take are on-the-field topics.

Year one was all about learning the speed of the game. Now, Murray will be tasked with perfecting the rhythm between him and his receivers.

Palmer empathizes with the players who are missing out on an important part of the offseason.

“This is the time of year where year two is played off of because of the reps he’s getting with his receivers, especially having DeAndre Hopkins come in, and getting his rhythm and timing down with him,” Palmer said.

“It’s really unfortunate for this class. Obviously these guys will make up for lost time. But really, in a quarterback’s development, this offseason is so pivotal and so many leaps and bounds are made this time of year.”

As Murray gets down that rhythm with receivers, he gets practice working against live defenses.

“My greatest strength playing the game was seeing defenses and reacting to it. Being able to recognize what was going on and reacting to it,” Warner said. “That’s what you miss for a young quarterback.”

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