Cardinals’ Kyler Murray present for voluntary OTAs; Green, Hicks missing
TEMPE, Ariz. — Any speculation regarding quarterback Kyler Murray’s presence during the Arizona Cardinals’ offseason workouts was squashed Wednesday.
After Murray’s offseason routine in Texas was called into question Monday, the quarterback was front and center for the teams’ first voluntary OTAs session of the season.
“It’s a unique offseason. Y’all understand following it the last few months and how it’s played out,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday. “To have him here the next few weeks will be great to be around his guys, but he knows our offense inside and out.
“I think getting the timing down with some of the new players, Rodney and A.J., will be big, so we’ll continue to work through that the next couple of weeks.”
Murray enters Year 3 after improving upon his rookie numbers in 2020.
Playing all 16 games last season, Murray led the Cardinals to an 8-8 record, completing 67.2% of his passes for 3,971 yards and 26 touchdowns, all career highs. While Murray tossed the same amount of interceptions (12) as he did his rookie season, the QB saw his sack totals drop from 48 to 27.
Murray also posted high marks as a rusher, chipping in another 819 yards and 11 scores on 133 carries (5.2 yards per attempt).
His upped play has Kingsbury and Co. expecting big things from the third-year signal caller.
“We know he’s been working really hard this offseason to try and take that big jump,” Kingsbury said. “I thought not having an offseason last year, rolling into Season 2, he made huge strides and we expect him to make the same this season. He’s definitely very confident right now.
“He’s mastered our system. You can see the leadership qualities continue to emerge. We’re all just really excited to have him here and watch where this thing can go with him as our leader.”
OTAs no-shows highlighted by A.J. Green, Jordan Hicks, Chandler Jones
Not everyone was present for the first day of organized team activities on Wednesday.
While a majority of the team was at the Cardinals’ training facility, offseason addition A.J. Green and linebackers Jordan Hicks and Chandler Jones were not with their teammates.
“Everybody was here that we anticipated being here,” Kingsbury said when asked about the trio’s absence. “We’ve had discussions with the other guys that kinda knew the situation so no concerns there.”
Chandler Jones enters 2021 as the team’s primary pass-rushing threat after suffering a season-ending biceps injury a year prior. Green joins Arizona after a frustrating 2020 which ended with the wideout recording just 523 yards and two touchdowns as he dealt with a brutal quarterback situation in Cincinnati.
Jones and Green are locked into starting roles, Hicks, though, not so much.
Hicks’ absence from the voluntary OTA session comes after Kingsbury made it known during rookie minicamp on May 14 he expects 2021 first-round pick Zaven Collins to start alongside Isaiah Simmons as the team’s starting inside linebackers, a position Hicks held for 16 starts last year.
Just two days prior to Kingsbury’s comments, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Cardinals were allowing Hicks to search for a new home via trade.
Kingsbury on free agent wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald:
“No update other than his basketball team is doing really, really good, so they got that going.”
Kingsbury on trimming OTAs from 10 to three this offseason:
“We had great conversations with our leadership and came up with a good plan. … Getting the rookies here was huge. I feel like those guys were the most disadvantage last year going into training camp. That’s just a tough scenario to show up to training camp with no prior NFL work at all, so to have them all offseason has really been beneficial for us.”
Kingsbury on free agent nose tackle Corey Peters:
“We’re always looking to add talent, we know what Corey’s about. He was tremendous for us on and off the field, one of the great leaders in our locker room so we’ll see how that plays out and we’re excited about some of the young talent we have there as well. I felt Rashard [Lawrence] did a nice job last year stepping in. Leki [Fotu] really came along way, so we feel we have some good pieces.”
Kingsbury on the tight end situation:
“That’s a position I think we’ll continue to evaluate and kinda see who’s out there. Maxx [Williams] and Darrell [Daniels] have played a lot of meaningful snaps for us and then we have some young guys that we want to develop. I think throughout the summer we’ll definitely try to add some depth there at some point.”