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NFL

NFL Defenses Are Out To Smash Arizona Cardinals’ “Pretty Boy Football”

Murray and Kingsbury's system represents the new NFL with rules that cripple defenses.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Kyler Murray‘s second preseason performance on Thursday night in the Arizona Cardinals’ 33-26 loss to the Oakland Raiders was worse than his debut when he completed 6-of-7 passes.

Murray went 3-for-8 for just 12 yards and was sacked twice by some Raiders defenders who aren’t too fond of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his Cardinals offense.

“I can not stand college offenses in the NFL. It’s pretty boy football,” said Raiders safety LaMarcus Joyner after the game. “It doesn’t allow the defense to play physical like the game is meant to be. So when you go against an offense like that you have to introduce that physically to em’ because they don’t want to do that.”

Sounds like a direct shot at Murray and Klingbury’s offensive system. It also gives you a glimpse into how NFL teams perceive Murray and the Cardinals at this point. They are like a sideshow with a freak quarterback and overly confident head coach who spits in the face of tradition. The combination already seems to rub dudes the wrong way.

Murray might be the most intriguing and analyzed quarterback prospect in NFL history. Never before has a quarterback of his 5-foot-10 (that’s being generous) stature been a No. 1 overall pick. The criticisms and praises flowed equally when rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals organization decided to roll the dice and make Murray the face of the franchise.

While many analysts and scouts questioned Murray’s size and durability, the Cardinals focused on Murray’s attributes and anointed him the best guy to lead their college-style offense. Kingsbury had success as Texas Tech’s OC and then head coach from 2012-2018 and became known as a QB whisperer. It’s common knowledge that Kingsbury also coached Patrick Mahomes Jr. when he was balling at Texas Tech, so he knows what to do with quarterbacks with unique and unteachable skills sets. Mahomes went on to throw for a rookie-record 50 TD passes and 5,097 yards this season.

It is the kind of system that Murray also thrived in at Oklahoma, featuring a marriage to the shotgun, spread formations and some trickery designed to avoid solid hits on the QB and confuse the defense. Murray is athletic, elusive and strong-armed enough to excel in the NFL, but we haven’t seen it yet so far over his first two preseason games

Former Jets QB and popular morning show host Boomer Esiason says Murray has the best chance of the three first-round quarterbacks (Murray, Daniel Jones, Dwyane Haskins) to make an immediate impact as a starter. Esiason also cautions those fans expecting Murray to take the NFL by storm to give him some time to experience growing pains. Especially considering his team still stinks. Rookie quarterbacks on bad teams have traditionally struggled at first.

“Murray’s going to have a chance to come right out of the gate and play in an offense that he knows,” Boomer told The Shadow League. “All the reports out of Arizona is that he’s already got it on lockdown and he knows what’s going on, but he’ll have some rough patches. I don’t think they are a great team by any stretch of the imagination and he’s going to be standing back there about 90 percent of the time in shotgun…o they are going to ask him to do a lot of the heavy lifting, which very few rookie quarterbacks in the history fo this league have had success doing. Maybe Ben Roethlisberger and Dan Marino? Other than that, the rest of us as rookies look like idiots out there.”

Murray turned down guaranteed millions in baseball to up the ante and sign a fully-guaranteed four-year, $35.1 million contract with a signing bonus of over $23 million with the Cardinals. He spent the last year leveraging his two-sport status as the golden child of pro sports. Now it’s time to earn his check and put it down.

It won’t be an easy road. Murray and his Cardinals gang are already a target for opposing defensive players who see them as representatives of the new NFL that continues to make rules that cripple defenses and make scoring TDs a walk in the park.

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