Billy Price nailing down Cardinals’ playbook, chemistry with Kyler Murray

Nov 2, 2022, 7:15 PM

Billy Price #53 of the Arizona Cardinals points to the defense against the New Orleans Saints at St...

Billy Price #53 of the Arizona Cardinals points to the defense against the New Orleans Saints at State Farm Stadium on October 20, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

TEMPE — It’s been a nonstop season of learning for Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Billy Price.

Signing on with the Las Vegas Raiders practice squad days after the team’s season opener, Price was tasked with picking up the playbook on the fly. Given head coach Josh McDaniels hails from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, the complexity of said playbook was no joke.

But after getting a good grasp on things in Sin City, all that work Price put in was largely for naught, with the Cardinals eventually signing the lineman off the Raiders practice squad in early October. He did not play a game for Las Vegas.

It was a signing out of necessity for the Cardinals.

Despite Rodney Hudson returning for another season, the starting center has managed to play in only half of the team’s eight games so far as he continues to deal with a knee injury.

The opportunity was there for Price, who made 15 starts for the Giants at the position in 2021, to make an impact on the active roster. It just came down to mastering yet another playbook.

“Learning two playbooks in six weeks wasn’t easy, especially being out there in Vegas in the Patriots system,” Price said Wednesday. “Here, it’s complex … but I’ve done similar things in similar schemes in my time in New York and my time in Cincinnati — there was even some carryover in Vegas.

“It’s tough but again, you have to clean your brain, have a blank slate and be able to just absorb what we’re doing now and focus in. It’s been nice to be able to focus in on a week-by-week basis of the playbook. Not necessarily trying to absorb the whole thing as you would do in training camp.”

While Price is still navigating his way through the full extent of the playbook, he’s managed to secure that starting center role the past two weeks, overtaking backup Sean Harlow, and is expected to do the same in Week 9 with Hudson already ruled out for Arizona’s home contest against the Seattle Seahawks.

And although Hudson remains on the shelf, that hasn’t stopped the veteran from lending his voice to Price.

“If you scan the sideline, I’m always sitting right next to him just to see what he sees and his experience in this division and understanding players and coverages, etc. just to increase my knowledge of the game as well,” Price said.

“Something I’m not used to is reading coverages as much playing center. I’ve done it in the past but having this offense and just being able to help the total package, it’s really been helpful to have him on the sideline at all times. He’s a first-round Hall of Fame center so he’s an incredible asset to have.”

That’s not to say it’s been a seamless transition, though, with a few bad snaps and a false start rearing their ugly heads over the past two weeks for Price.

But that comes with the territory of getting to know the playbook and his new quarterback in Kyler Murray.

“We were having a good time out there today,” Price said of Murray. “It’s just what he wants, that’s what we have to do, no matter what. If he wants to change a protection, change a play, and understanding his operations as well. I had a false start against the Saints and it’s an operation error just me getting used to him. That’s all it is.

“We’re getting there. There’s obviously more to every story but again, Kyler’s a hell of a player. What he’s able to do is just incredible. Glad that I’m on his side now.”

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