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Cardinals’ Offensive Play of Day 6

NFL: Arizona Cardinals-Training Camp Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There was one play from the Arizona Cardinals 6th day of training camp that exemplifies why the Cardinals decided to trade Josh Rosen and draft Kyler Murray with the #1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Setting the stage:

Formation: 2 X 2 spread, shotgun, RB to left of QB.

Offensive Personnel (from left to right):

18—Butler; 12—-Cooper; 74—-Humphries; 67—-Pugh; 52—-Cole; 64—-Sweezy; 76—-Gilbert; 89—-Isabella; 16—-Sherfield; 29—-Edmonds; 1—-Murray.

Defensive Personnel: Nickel (4 Man Front of Suggs, Peters, Jones—-with Hicks at MLB, Vallejo at NLB over Isabella, Alford on Sherfield)

Defensive Call: TEX stunt (Peters goes outside rush, Suggs loops inside), MLB middle blitz (Hicks)

  • 93—-Darius Philon swims past outside shoulder of RG J.R. Sweezy and beats him badly—-poor fan technique by Sweezy.
  • Philon gets clean shot at Murray.
  • Last year when the inside pass rush wash this quick, Josh Rosen typically took a dive to avoid the hit—-can’t blame him per se, but as we see here, Kyler Murray has an answer by taking a quick jab step to his left away from Philon.
  • Mason Cole tries valiantly to help on Philon, but Sweezy hadn’t slowed Philon down at all (Sean Kugler will be going over this today with Sweezy and will be correcting his technique. It looked like Sweezy stood up and lunged at Philon (both mistakes), when he should have drop-stepped into a proper fan technique. This is very correctable—-so don’t freak out.)
  • Justin Pugh bottles up the middle pretty well, although Terrell Suggs is able to eventually loop past him on his TEX stunt and put pressure on Murray after Murray shook Philon with his jab step and then flushed to his right.
  • Both tackles handle their men well—-Marcus Gilbert stops Chandler Jones in his tracks, although Jones looks like he might be dropping off into coverage after contact.
  • On the other side, D.J. Humphries reads the TEX stunt well and seals off Corey Peters’ rush.
  • Key Block: Chase Edmonds fills and blocks Jordan Hicks on the MLB blitz—-which allows Kyler Murray to take his jab step away from Darius Philon and then flush to his right.
  • Key Mistake on Defense: when Robert Alford covers Trent Sherfield on his slant, it looks clearly like the coverage is man to man. But NLB (nickel) Tanner Vallejo does not pick up slot WR Andy Isabella and instead looks like he is dropping into the seam (zone). The FS has too far to go to pick up Isabella man to man...which also suggests this is a blown coverage.
  • Murray does what he does best when he flushes, he keeps his eyes downfield and while moving to his right, with a quick flip of his wrist, he hits Andy Isabella (who ran a perfect deep comeback route) right on the numbers.
  • When the FS overruns the play, Andy Isabella makes one shake move and scores the TD.

This play is one of the main reasons why Kyler Murray is a special talent. He will make some mistakes, as all rookies and QBs do, but this play was a superb answer to an earlier interception and it highlights not only Murray’s outstanding improvisational skills (his quick feel for pressure and how to race to it), but just as significant, his ability to keep his eyes downfield while under duress, to locate an open WR and to throw a quick, accurate dart on the run.