Kyler Murray shined as his rookie season wore on, flashing traits that portend to higher heights for the young quarterback.
Murray’s rookie stats were middle-of-the-pack, as he tossed for 3,722 yards with a 64.4 completion percentage on 542 attempts for a 6.9 yards per attempt average, with 20 TDs to 12 INTs, adding 544 rushing yards and four scampering TDs.
The statistics don’t jump off the page, but the way he compiled them down the stretch displayed bright promise. Murray owns pinpoint accuracy, a quick-draw release, and playmaking ability when the pocket breaks down.
The production might not have been there on a weekly basis, especially during a six-game midseason losing streak, behind a sieve offensive line. Still, the traits and flashes suggest Murray’s on a high trajectory in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.
With the offseason program scuttled through April, at least, however, could the strides made last season slip?
Kingsbury, for one, isn’t fretting Murray devolving or the strange offseason curtailing the quarterback’s improvement.
"You all saw the development, I think, throughout the season, the comfort level," Kingsbury said Tuesday, via The Athletic. "We’d love to have him back and be more hands-on for a couple more months, but everybody is facing the same challenges. I know Kyler is working really hard. He’s champing at the bit to get back. He has the film to watch, he has the stuff to study, he knows what we have to get better at, so I expect him to take a big step just understanding the game more. This is the NFL, the type of preparation it takes to be that guy week in and week out. Yeah, we’d love to have him back. Do I think it’s going to stunt his growth? I don’t think so."
With the addition of DeAndre Hopkins and the potential to upgrade the O-line in the draft, the Cardinals have the opportunity to boast one of the most explosive offenses in NFL next season. As it always does, however, the ceiling comes back to the quarterback. If Murray continues on the path he showed last year, the Cards will be well on their way to being one of the more exciting teams in 2020.
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