There will be a lot of firsts for the Arizona Cardinals in 2019.
Namely, it will be the first season for a lot of the team’s personnel. They have a first-year head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, a first-year quarterback in Kyler Murray, a bunch of rookie wide receivers, an all-new coaching staff (albeit one that has experience elsewhere) and an offense that hopes to light up the NFL in the name of innovation.
That means there’s work to do to make sure there aren’t any rookie mistakes.
So maybe it’s a good thing that both Kingsbury and Murray told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Thursday that they don’t necessarily feel like this is their first rodeo.
“Yes and no,” Murray said when asked if he feels like a rookie. “Because I feel like I have it a lot better than most rookie quarterbacks, just put it that way. It could be a lot harder, for sure. Just coming in, even day one, when we were out here with the rookie camp, it was just kind of, I was more familiar with what we were doing, giving signals out quickly. It wasn’t a pause and stuff like that. The transition has been a lot easier for me, I know that. and I’m very thankful for that.”
Murray, fresh out of college and learning the NFL life for the first time, was credited for his intelligence last week by veteran Larry Fitzgerald, who said Murray “knows the system better than we do.”
“He has a certain level of comfort, no question, having played in a similar offense in college and somewhat in high school,” Kingsbury told Doug & Wolf. “So for the vets, it’s a first-year head coach, new offense, and he just happens to have a jump-start on it. But he approaches the game the way you want a young guy to. He studies hard, continues to try and improve. He’s the guy and he understands that, so he’s going to try and make everybody around him better.”
For Kingsbury, having a smart and familiar quarterback should be a luxury; the head coach, too, is adjusting to NFL life after coaching at Texas Tech. But he also said that he doesn’t necessarily feel like this is all so new.
“No, I think you just feel like a football coach,” Kingsbury said. “Everybody works hard in this league and we’re all doing our best to help maximize what we are as an organization and a team. I just feel like a coach and we’re getting ready for training camp in a couple months.
“It’s been a great learning experience. I think with our staff, bringing Vance in and some guys who have had some success in this league and have a lot of experience has really helped me get a bunch of questions answered throughout the offense, kind of steer this thing the way we want it to go heading into training camp. It’s been a positive experience.”
Murray has gotten out on the field plenty of times now, having gone through rookie camp, voluntary OTAs and a few days of mandatory mini-camp. He and all the other rookies should, at the very least, know their way around the facility.
“It’s going good. A lot of busy days,” Murray said. “But it’s kind of like fall camp during your college career. It’s been fun, jelling with the guys, getting to be around them a lot more and playing football.”