Kyler Murray had a rough time on Thursday night, which is cause for some concern but it’s hardly panic time.
Kyler Murray had a pretty good preseason debut, completing six of seven passes against the Los Angeles Chargers. He played a little more Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders, but the results were markedly worse (3-for-8 for 12 yards, two sacks taken; one for a safety) to go with two false start penalties for clapping too abruptly pre-snap.
Murray threw downfield more often against Oakland, and missed a chunk of throws he has to make. But the Cardinals could not handle the Raiders’ blitz, and the team committed 10 penalties while Murray was in the game, including two on special teams that put drives in a hole right off the bat.
Arizona had a bad offensive line last year, to the point other teams practice squad castoffs got opportunities to step right in and start. Then they didn’t do much to address it during the offseason, signing guard J.R. Sweezy and trading for Marcus Gilbert while waiting until the sixth and seventh round to draft anyone. Installing new system trying to expand the play calling in the second preseason game behind a bad offensive line is a recipe for struggle.
Murray’s night was made to look a little worse when backup Brett Hundley threw a 40-yard touchdown on his first pass attempt and Arizona’s other two quarterbacks threw touchdown passes as well. But placed in the proper context, those three backups got to play against Raiders’ backups and a chunk of players who won’t make it to final cuts. Murray played against the best Oakland has to offer, and struggled in all facets.
Preseason is the time to work out kinks, and Cardinals’ head coach Kliff Kingsbury has some things to work on too as he adapts his high-flying college offense to the NFL. The Murray bandwagon surely lost some people after his showing Thursday night, but it’s far too early to make any broad declarations and the reigning Heisman winner will probably deserve a mulligan for his rookie season when it’s all said and done.