Urban Meyer: Schedule limits Jaguars’ prep for Cardinals’ Kyler Murray

Sep 22, 2021, 10:57 AM | Updated: 12:13 pm

A cramped schedule has the Jacksonville Jaguars attacking preparation for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray in less-than-ideal ways.

Jacksonville hosts Arizona on Sunday before a quick turnaround to face the Cincinnati Bengals for a Thursday game on Sept. 30.

That has Jaguars coach Urban Meyer taking extra precautions when it comes to running his team too hard this week. All the extra steps to practice for a dual-threat quarterback can’t be taken.

“I’ve done it before,” the first-year NFL head coach told reporters Wednesday. “We played (Oregon quarterback) Marcus Mariota when I was at Ohio State. You put a jackrabbit back there and run around and all that. We’re playing again in four days after this one so I’m just thinking big-picture. We all are.

“We got two humid days, so how many reps can you actually get of that? We’re going to do it but it wouldn’t be the way I’m used to doing it.”

Meyer admitted on a follow-up that the Jaguars are unlikely to ask a skill player to line up at quarterback.

“We’re just going to ask our quarterbacks,” he said. “We can’t do that. We just can’t blow our guys out like that right now.”

Jacksonville’s quarterback room includes starter Trevor Lawrence, backup C.J. Beathard and practice squad member Kyle Lauletta, none of whom are especially fleet on their feet.

Murray’s legs might be the least of their problems when it comes to the actually rushing attack. While he has two touchdown scores, he’s rushed five times in each of the first two games this year as it appears Arizona is fine allowing him to flourish leading an upgraded passing attack from a year ago.

The 0-2 Jaguars’ rushing defense ranks in the top-10 of the NFL by holding teams to 3.6 yards per attempt, anyway.

Their pass defense has been far from as good.

Jacksonville has the sixth-worst passing defense by net yards per attempt (8.3) and are also sixth in passing yards allowed through Week 2. They have yet to pick off an opposing quarterback and are bottom-five in pass-rush, according to Pro Football Focus grades.

Murray, meanwhile, is coming off an NFC Offensive Player of the Week award and is second in the NFL with 689 passing yards through two games, both wins. He’s second in the NFL in passer rating and QBR.

The third-year pro is fifth in yards per attempt (10.1) and has thrown seven touchdowns to three interceptions.

Meyer said watching and preparing for Murray film has been a trip.

“I watch it and I turn it off, walk away, come back, turn it off,” Meyer joked.

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