Murray’s shoulder shows progress; Cardinals prepare without Fitzgerald
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s shoulder is continuing to look better after an injury suffered Nov. 19 against the Seattle Seahawks had him limited at practice earlier this week, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday after practice.
Murray was listed as a full participant in practice in a Cardinals report that came out shortly after Kingsbury’s Zoom call with media.
Kingsbury was noncommittal about the quarterback’s status heading into the weekend.
“He’s improved each day, which is encouraging. We’ll see what it looks like Sunday and kind of go from there,” Kingsbury said. “We’ve definitely made progress.”
If Murray were to suffer a setback and miss the game Sunday at the New England Patriots, Chris Streveler would get his first NFL start.
“[Streveler’s] really developed nicely from training camp on. Each week, he has the entire game plan, the entire install,” Kingsbury said. “Every time we’ve ask him to go in any drill … he’s handled it really well. I think, not only the coaching staff, but the players have a lot of confidence that Chris can go in there and operate at a high level.”
Streveler, who had packages designed for him early this season for occasional change-of-pace snaps at quarterback, has one run for three yards this season. Over two seasons in the Canadian Football League, he went 242-for-374 with 2,698 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns and 19 interceptions with 1,167 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground.
On Wednesday, Kingsbury said the team was considering having all three quarterbacks active as a precaution. That no longer seems likely for two reasons: One, Murray’s activity at Friday’s practice improves the likelihood that he’ll be good to go. Secondly, the positive coronavirus test of Larry Fitzgerald may require the team to field an extra receiver.
The coaching staff is mulling its game plan to replace the player who has not missed a start since Week 14 of the 2014 season.
“In my mind, Larry’s invincible. If anything happens to him, it’s a shocker to me,” said offensive lineman D.J. Humphries, who has been on the Cardinals since being drafted in 2015. “The last time we’ve gotten on a plane and Larry wasn’t on the plane with us, I don’t know when that was. I definitely wasn’t around in Arizona the last time that happened.”
Fitzgerald’s statistical production has dipped this season – on pace for less than 550 yards, this would be the lowest yardage total of his career – but having the constant in the slot provides consistency and reliability to the Cardinals.
“We have some options there to fill that role that Fitz filled schematically,” Kingsbury said. “Obviously it’s hard to replace a legend, one of the best to ever do it, all he brings to us, but we have some different bodies that we can rotate through and see how it shakes out.”
Kingsbury specifically mentioned running back Chase Edmonds and tight end Dan Arnold as skill players who could step into an increased role.
As for the morale, energy and assurance that Fitzgerald brings to the field, Humphries said the 17-year veteran has given enough lessons that they can make do without his presence.
“He’s done a great job of molding the next era of guys so well that we’ll be able to carry on his same energy,” Humphries said. “Obviously missing the GOAT out there, there’s no replacing that, but like I said, he’s taught enough of us enough lessons to be able to carry on.”
Note: This article has been updated to reflect the injury report listing Murray as a full participant at practice Friday.