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Center of attention for Kyler Murray

The key to Kyler’s success begins with developing a strong chemistry with his center

NFL: OCT 15 Cardinals at Rams Photo by Tony Ding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the news that Kyler Murray was a FULL participant in yesterday’s practice, there is speculation among the media and fans that the Cardinals’ 5th year QB, coming back for an ACL tear last December, could find himself back in action sooner than some people expect.

After watching Josh Dobbs struggle to find his rhythm and accuracy the last two weeks, the thought of Kyler Murray throwing the team’s passes instead is particularly appealing.

Kyler is now being asked to run a pro-style offense for the first time in his football career. What that means is, Kyler will be taking a significant number of direct snaps from over the center, which he will either hand off to the RB or fake the handoff to run and handful of different play action passes from different launching points via bootlegs and left-and-right waggles.

Mastering the snap exchanges and various footwork requirements that Kyler’s new offense demands is going to be a sizeable challenge, especially considering the fact that yesterday was essentially Kyler’s 4th practice all year.

Beyond that, the key to Kyler’s potential success could very well be tied to how well he can jive with his new center, be he Hjalte Froholdt (pictured above) or Trystan Colon.

Over the past four years, Kyler has struggled to develop and maintain a chemistry with the centers he’s worked with. Because of Kyler’s often long, hesitant pre-snap assessments and audibles, he has tended to put a good deal of stress on the center, often-time compounding the stress by the staggering of snap counts that frequently come down to the center having to deliver the snap just as the 45 second play clock is between 1 and 0.

We have seen on numerous occasions Kyler’s centers get frustrated with him.

The fact that none of his centers over the past four years have played consistently well, and were- penalty prone, should be an area of apt concern.

  • 2019 —- A.Q. Shipley —- 57.6 —- 4 penalties
  • 2020 —- Mason Cole —- 54.4 —- 8 penalties (Lamont Gaillard, 2 games, 48.1, 0 penalties)
  • 2021 —- Rodney Hudson —- 57.4 —- 2 penalties (Max Garcia, 4 games, 54.3 ,4 penalties)
  • 2022 —- Billy Price —- 51.3 —- 11 penalties (Rodney Hudson, 4 games, 58.3, 2 penalties)

Moving Forward:

  • 2023 —- Hjalte Froholdt —- 55.3 —- 5 penalties

It has been a struggle at times for Josh Dobbs to mesh with Hjalte Froholdt. In game one, Dobbs could not control a direct snap that resulted in a fumble and costly 4th quarter turnover. And, while Fro’s shotgun snaps have been mostly accurate, this past week in the 3rd quarter when the offense was finally moving the chains, Fro’s errant snap that went over Josh Dobbs’ head ended what was looking like the only promising 2nd-half possession during what was a close game, at that point.

As I have been lobbying for, I would like to see the coaches slide Fro over to LG and play Trystan Colon at C. When the Cardinals claimed Colon off waivers from the Jets, I was encouraged when I perused his pre-season and regular season grades the past three years:

Trystan Colon’s Pre-Season Grades:

  • 2023 —- NYJ —- OFF: 67.3 —- PBLK: 74.2 —- RBLK: 67.8
  • 2022 —- BAL —- OFF: 82.0 —- PBLK: 87.1 —- RBLK: 78.1
  • 2021 —- BAL —- OFF: 73.6; —- PBLK: 85.7 —-RBLK: 67.2

Trystan Colon’s Regular Season Grades:

  • 2023 —- ARI —- OFF: 61.4 —- PBLK: 62.9 —- RBLK: 63.6 (playing at G) —- 126 snaps
  • 2022 —- BAL —- OFF: 72.0 —- PBLK: 75.7 —- RBLK: 68.0 (playing C, RG) —- 49 snaps
  • 2021 —- BAL —-OFF: 62.6 —- PBLK: 74.5 —- RBLK: 58.8 (playing C, LT, RG) —- 147 snaps
  • 2020 —- BAL —- OFF: 67.7 —- PBLK: 70.0 —- RBLK &2.5 (playing C) —- 127 snaps

These commendable grades made me eager to go watch him on film —- and I was very impressed with how he anchors the position, blocks with good leverage for good movement, and makes smart pre-snap calls.

I have a hunch that Kyler would be better suited to take snaps from Trystan Colon, who is an inch or two smaller than Fro and tends to play with a lower pad level. Plus, Colon’s shotgun snap placement is made to order for a right-handed QB, as he purposely snaps it in the direction of the QB’s right arm. See for yourself:

I believe that Fro’s brute physical strength and pulling ability could make him a formidable force at LG —- something the team has lacked, more often than not, over the first 7 weeks.

What cannot be under-estimated is the precision it takes for a QB under center to receive a clean snap, secure it and then be able to clear his feet quickly into the backfield, especially in an offense that runs a steady diet of outside zone blocking schemes with frequent pulling from all 5 players, plus TEs many of whom pull in tandems.

Therefore, the first and foremost key to Kyler Murray’s successful assimilation into the offense depends on getting the chemistry right between Kyler and his center.

Do you agree?


Which C do you feel is most likely to be a better fit for Kyler Murray?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Hjalte Froholdt
    (46 votes)
  • 64%
    Trystan Colon
    (84 votes)
130 votes total Vote Now

Developing a rapport with a center typically takes hundreds and hundreds of reps. This is one of the main reasons why, as excited as I am to see Kyler play, I am very concerned about how well Kyler can play while trying to squeeze a whole off-season of reps into a 3-4 week practice window, which is essentially a mere 9-12 practices.

While we’re at it —- getting the LG position settled.

PFF Grades at LG to date:

  • 61.4 —- Trystan Colon —- 126 snaps
  • 33.5 —- Elijah Wilkinson —- 319 snaps
  • 31.3 —- Dennis Daley —- 19 snaps


Which OL do you feel would be the best fit at LG?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Elijah Wilkinson
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Dennis Daley
    (1 vote)
  • 19%
    Trystan Colon
    (25 votes)
  • 45%
    Hjalte Froholdt
    (57 votes)
  • 26%
    Marquis Hayes
    (34 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now

Which LG candidate did you vote and why?

Furthermore, what are your thoughts, in general, about how Kyler Murray will fare behind the current offensive line?