Cards’ Murray struggles with snap issues, flags

NFL

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Thursday night was another example of how the NFL is trying to figure out Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray.

Murray was twice flagged for false starts in the first quarter of Thursday night’s preseason game against the Oakland Raiders because of his cadence, in which Murray claps for the snap. Officials told him he was “too abrupt” in his clap and “not smooth enough as far as bringing my hands together,” Murray said.

The two penalties cost the Cardinals 10 yards, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he doesn’t plan on changing Murray’s cadence to a verbal call.

“I think it’s the first time for certain officials to see it, and we’ve been in contact with the league and had a great conversation on it,” Kingsbury said. “We’re going to work through that and make sure everybody’s on the same page. We want to be on the same page as them and make sure we’re doing things that they deem legal.”

Kingsbury called the conversations with the league and officials “ongoing.”

Last season, there were eight false-start penalties by quarterbacks, and none had more than one in a game, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The most recent time a quarterback was called for two false-start penalties in a regular-season game was the Saints’ Drew Brees on Oct. 27, 2013, against the Bills.

Murray, who finished his second preseason game 3-of-8 passing for 12 yards with a run for 4 yards, said his hard count won’t be affected if any changes to his cadence are made.

“To me, it’s like any other hard count,” Murray said. “It’s the defense’s job to watch the ball, so it really doesn’t make sense to me. I think we’re trying to fix things right now.”

Murray’s outing, which lasted four possessions and into the second quarter, wasn’t as efficient or productive as his showing in Week 1.

On top of his inefficient stat line and the two false-start penalties, Murray was also flagged for a delay-of-game penalty and was sacked for a safety. Murray disagreed with the delay-of-game flag.

“I don’t think they reset the clock,” Murray said. “But it being preseason, I don’t think they cared to really check it out because there was no way that the clock ran down for 24 seconds.”

On the sack, which happened in the second quarter and ended up being his final play of the game, Murray said he thought he landed on the 1-yard line. After that play, Murray thought it was time to get out of the game.

“It didn’t really matter,” he said.

That was Murray’s approach to Thursday night overall. However, Murray said he understood the need to clean up the snap issues as well as the 14 penalties for 108 yards.

“I mean, it’s football,” Murray said. “We didn’t look as good as we would’ve liked to look, but it’s the preseason. This is why it’s the preseason. It’s just tough because we’re not playing a whole game, and it’s … I don’t wanna say it’s not real, but it’s not the regular season. We’re not doing everything we’re gonna do. It gets frustrating, but at the same time, it’s preseason.”

Kingsbury supported Murray’s approach to the preseason, adding that the vanilla offensive approach makes the exhibition games a bit more difficult. But Murray believes the Cardinals will look different in Week 1, when they unveil their offense in its entirety and game plan for the Detroit Lions.

“I think it’ll be very different, just because we’ll scheme them up, just like they’ll scheme us up,” Murray said. “But we’ll be going full force and we’ll see.”

Kingsbury was pleased with some of the decisions Murray made but added the first-overall pick missed some close throws. Murray had four overthrows in the first quarter, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He had at least four overthrows in just two games throughout his entire college career.

On Thursday night, Murray averaged 1.5 yards per attempt after averaging 6.3 yards per attempt last week against the Chargers. Last season at Oklahoma, he averaged 11.6 yards per attempt and his lowest average in a single game was 8.3 against Alabama in the CFP Semifinal. Murray said he just one pass got away from him — a throw across the middle to Christian Kirk — but added that he felt confident on every throw.

“He understands what it is,” Kingsbury said. “He understands what we are trying to accomplish and where we are at and what we are doing offensively right now, so he is very confident.”

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