Kyler Murray: Cardinals must ‘hold it down’ and ‘step up’ amid injuries
TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals may have exited Week 5 with their undefeated record intact, but the victory wasn’t without its casualties.
Two starters in center Rodney Hudson and tight end Maxx Williams didn’t finish the contest, both going down with injuries in the 17-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Hudson left in the third quarter with a ribs issue, while Williams was lost in the second quarter due to a knee injury.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury ruled Hudson out for at least this week, while Williams is done for the season.
Players and coaches alike have had nothing but good things to say about the starting center, notably his football acumen, work ethic and overall leadership. He leaves a mighty hole to fill against a tough Cleveland Browns front seven.
“As a team, he is a captain of ours, a guy that we look to, one of our leaders, the anchor in the middle,” quarterback Kyler Murray said Wednesday. “Obviously, we got to hold it down while he’s out. That’s the mindset.”
While Hudson is likely to return from his ailment, the same can’t be said for Williams, forcing the Cardinals to adapt on the fly after utilizing the tight end more in the passing game than in seasons past. In five games, Williams made 16 catches for 193 yards and one touchdown, serving as Murray’s security blanket.
“I think guys have to step up. Guys who have been waiting for an opportunity to show their skills,’ Murray said. “When a guy goes down it’s an opportunity to step up and kind of make those plays and fill that void. I’m excited to see what these guys can do.”
On top of the team’s in-house options, Arizona went out and added former Green Bay Packer and Philadelphia Eagle Richard Rodgers to the practice squad in hopes the tight end can get caught up to speed on how the offense functions sooner rather than later.
They might not be done at Rodgers, either, with Kingsbury referencing the front office continually scouring the league for right fits. And right there to share his thoughts will be Murray.
“He talks about it a lot,” Kingsbury said of Murray and his input on team moves. “He likes to get his opinion out there for sure. I would say he has a little juice in those conversations.”
For Murray, he’s simply just taking the worst-they-can-say-is-no route.
“Over the years, I’ve just learned the least you can do is say something,” Murray said. “If it doesn’t get listened to or put in, it is what it is.
“I would be mad at myself if I didn’t say something. I’d rather just send a text or say whatever I got to say and let them do it.”