Kyler Murray ahead of Cardinals veterans with the playbook

Tue Jun 11 6:29pm ET
By JOHN MARSHALL
AP Sports Writer

Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray has a football tossed to him as quarterbacks run drills at the team's NFL football training facility Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray smiles as he speaks to the media after practice at the team's NFL football training facility Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray runs a drill at the team's NFL football training facility Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray takes a drink during a break in team drills at the team's NFL football training facility Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Everything has been new for Kyler Murray since the NFL draft. He's had to adjust to new teammates and coaches, being in a professional atmosphere, facing the demands of being an NFL player.

But as the Cardinals opened their first mandatory minicamp Tuesday, Murray had an advantage in one area: the playbook.

First-year Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury has brought in an entirely new offensive system that's unfamiliar to the Cardinals veterans but that Murray knows, at least to a certain degree, after playing at Oklahoma.

Just last week, Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald, entering his 16th NFL season, acknowledged Murray is ahead of most veterans in terms of the playbook.

''Obviously, I'm more familiar with it; coach Kingsbury knows it the best,'' Murray said after the first practice of minicamp. ''With him (Fitzgerald) being a veteran, not having to come to the OTAs and me being there every day, studying it every day, yes I do know it better. But that's my job.''

Kingsbury had one of college football's highest-scoring offenses during his six seasons with Texas Tech and twice produced the nation's passing leader.

Kingsbury was hired to replace Steve Wilks in part because of that offense and set out to get a quarterback who knows it and can run it.

The Cardinals moved up four spots to No. 10 overall in last year's draft to take Josh Rosen, seemingly settling the quarterback spot for at least the near future.

When Murray bypassed a professional baseball career to play football, Arizona and Kingsbury couldn't pass on taking him this year with the No. 1 overall pick.

Though small for an NFL quarterback at 5-foot-10, Murray had an explosive lone season as Oklahoma's starting quarterback, accounting for 5,300 yards and 54 touchdowns on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy.

Murray played in a similar wide-open offense to what Kingsbury ran in Lubbock and the Cardinals are hoping he can pick it up quickly to do some of the same things he did in college as an NFL quarterback.

''There's probably some truth to it, having been in a similar system all those years,'' Kingsbury said of Murray knowing the playbook better than the veterans. ''(Receiver) Christian Kirk has a good feel for it as well. Some of the terminology and concepts are really similar to what they've done before.''

Even so, knowing the playbook and executing it are two different things.

Murray dominated as a college quarterback, yet the jump to the NFL is a big one. The players are bigger, faster, smarter, so there's a feeling-out process for any rookie player, particularly a quarterback.

''The windows are a lot tighter, guys are a lot smarter,'' Murray said. ''They know what you're going to do before you even do it; you say hut, they already know what you're looking for. It's mind games, but it's fun, a lot of competition - everything I thought it would be.''

Murray has impressed the Cardinals through rookie camp and offseason workouts, showcasing his rare ability to make plays with his arm and his legs.

These lower-key workouts without pads have given him a chance to experiment, take chances here and there, see what he can and can't do against NFL players.

A bigger test will come when the Cardinals get to training camp and the preseason, when they're in pads and the intensity ratchets up.

''I like his attitude because he's going to take chances and this is the time to do it, see what you can get away with,'' Kingsbury said. ''If you want to go after Pat (All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson) a couple times, it's usually all it takes to learn. He's aggressive in nature, the way he thinks, the way he attacks the football field, and I like that.''

Murray has a head start with the playbook. They key will be using it to his advantage as the season gets closer.

Player Notes
Michael Roberts Jun 14 2:53am ET

Updating a previous report, the Detroit Lions traded TE Michael Roberts to the New England Patriots in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2020.

Andre Roberts Jun 13 11:53pm ET

Buffalo Bills WR Andre Roberts may see work in the passing game as the No. 5 receiver in addition to playing on special teams, according to Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News.

Matt Barkley Jun 13 10:53pm ET

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Barkley has the 'safest' role on the roster as QB Josh Allen's backup, in the opinion of Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News.

Cameron Meredith Jun 13 10:33pm ET

New Orleans Saints WR Cameron Meredith (knee) said sitting out OTAs and minicamp is 'mostly a matter of being smart' in order to ensure a healthy training camp.

Geronimo Allison Jun 13 10:13pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Geronimo Allison is 'likely slated as the slot man' in three-receiver sets, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

Fantasy Spin: Allison had a productive start to last season before suffering an injury, and while Marquez Valdes-Scantling may have the inside track on the No. 2 receiver job, the Green Bay passing attack could support three viable fantasy options. Consider Allison a WR4 with upside.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Jun 13 10:03pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been lining up across from WR Davante Adams in all packages during minicamp.

Fantasy Spin: It sounds like Valdes-Scantling has the inside track to the No. 2 receiver job. It remains to be seen if he will take the role and run with it, but the upside that comes with being one of Aaron Rodgers' top targets makes him a WR4 candidate.

Robby Anderson Jun 13 9:23pm ET

New York Jets WR Robby Anderson (undisclosed) did not practice Thursday, June 13, because of an undisclosed injury.

Fantasy Spin: The nature of Anderson's injury remains unclear, but unless it lingers into training camp, fantasy owners shouldn't be too concerned. Anderson started to connect with Sam Darnold on some big plays late last season, and he's a WR3 candidate in 2019 as the top option in the passing attack.

Leonard Fournette Jun 13 9:03pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette will be a big part of the passing game with QB Nick Foles in 2019, according to ESPN's Michael DiRocco.

Fantasy Spin: Fournette has just 48 career catches for 487 yards and two touchdowns over the first two seasons of his career. Foles most memorably hooked up with RB Corey Clement four times for 100 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl LII. Fournette could be a huge steal if he continues to go in the third round of PPR drafts.

Marlon Mack Jun 13 8:23pm ET

Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack is being viewed by head coach Frank Reich as the team's workhorse in the backfield, according to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star.

Fantasy Spin: Mack rushed for 908 yards and nine touchdowns last season while adding 103 yards and one touchdown as a receiver. Nyheim Hines should handle the majority of third-down duties in 2019, but Mack could still return plenty of value as a high-end RB2.

LeSean McCoy Jun 13 7:43pm ET

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy expects to maintain a large role in the offense in his age-31 season in 2019. 'I'm a type of guy, I thrive off of having a big name. So when guys come to my team, they're curious to see, 'How is LeSean McCoy? Is he still a good player?' I mean, I'm a dominant player. I think that speaks for itself. But I'll be in the same role as last year. And I look forward to putting some numbers up and bouncing back from that last season,' McCoy said Tuesday, June 12.

Fantasy Spin: McCoy totaled just 752 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns last season. Both numbers were career worsts as he played in 14 games but made just 13 starts. He remains No. 1 on the Bills' depth chart, but he'll be competing against veteran RB Frank Gore and third-round rookie Devin Singletary. He's fallen into RB4 territory but could prove to be a steal at a mid-round price.

Darius Slay Jun 13 6:43pm ET

Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay hasn't committed to reporting to next month's training camp without a new contract. 'Will I be there?' Slay said in an episode of The Pride Podcast released Thursday, June 13. 'We'll see. Time will tell.' Slay is set to carry a cap hit of $12.55 million in 2019 on the second-to-last year of a four-year, $48-million deal signed in 2016.

Dallas Goedert Jun 13 6:33pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert has looked ready to make a second-year leap into stardom in 2019, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Fantasy Spin: Goedert, who caught 33 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie after being chosen 49th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, will remain behind Zach Ertz on the Eagles' depth chart as a sophomore. He could prove to be a viable TE2 in deeper leagues and would be an instant must-add should Ertz miss any time.

David Moore Jun 13 6:23pm ET

Seattle Seahawks WR David Moore has made a huge leap this offseason in his knowledge of the position and in his ability to play multiple spots, according to head coach Pete Carroll on Thursday, June 13.

Fantasy Spin: Moore caught just 26 of 53 targets last season but turned those into 445 yards and five touchdowns. He projects behind Tyler Lockett and rookie D.K. Metcalf on the depth chart, but he's worth a late-round pick as a WR5 as the Seahawks begin life without Doug Baldwin.

Theo Riddick Jun 13 5:53pm ET

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick is not guaranteed to make the team out of training camp, in the opinion of the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett.

Kerryon Johnson Jun 13 5:53pm ET

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson finished with 32 catches in 10 games as a rookie in 2018, and the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett could see him doubling that production in 2019 if the team decides they don't need to take Johnson off the field on third down.

Demarcus Lawrence Jun 13 5:53pm ET

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones (hip) and DE DeMarcus Lawrence (shoulder) are expected to begin training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

DeSean Jackson Jun 13 5:43pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson has reportedly built a strong connection and sense of timing with QB Carson Wentz throughout the spring, according to Mike Kaye of NJ.com.

Lamar Jackson Jun 13 5:43pm ET

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson indicated he may work with noted 'quarterback guru' Tom House over the summer and confirmed he will throw to his teammates in either Baltimore or somewhere in Florida in July.

Travin Dural Jun 13 4:53pm ET

New Orleans Saints WR Travin Dural was waived Thursday, June 13.

C.J. Prosise Jun 13 4:43pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB C.J. Prosise (hamstring) reportedly left practice with a tight hamstring Thursday, June 13, according to head coach Pete Carroll.