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One and Done - FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Kyler Murray ahead of Cardinals veterans with the playbook

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

Players: Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Josh Rosen, Kyler Murray

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
Travis Fulgham Aug 11 3:20am ET

The Green Bay Packers have claimed wide receiver Travis Fulgham off waivers from the Detroit Lions. A sixth-round pick out of Old Dominion last season, Fulgham appeared in three games for Detroit, playing 42 offensive snaps against Green Bay in December but not recording a target. With Devin Funchess opting out and a top-heavy receiving corps, it makes sense for Green Bay to add someone at the position, but Fulgham's a longshot to make any kind of impact on this team in 2020.

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Alex Smith Aug 10 10:40pm ET

At one point, it looked like Washington quarterback Alex Smith would never step onto a football field again after a devastating leg injury in 2018, but head coach Ron Rivera says that if Smith is healthy, he'll have a chance to compete for the starting job. That's bad news for second-year passer Dwayne Haskins, who struggled as a rookie. Haskins not winning the starting job this year would signal bad news for his future in Washington and could suggest that the team will be looking for a new quarterback in 2021, as Smith's not the long term answer at this point in his career. This is a quarterback room to avoid in re-draft leagues this season.

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Lamar Miller Aug 10 10:30pm ET

The New England Patriots have signed former Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller to a one-year deal. Miller missed all of 2019 after tearing his ACL and MCL in preseason, but the veteran back has shown some explosiveness in the past and adds important insurance to this backfield, especially with Sony Michel (foot) not a lock to be healthy Week 1. Miller's been good before, but he's likely just keeping the seat warm for Michel and even if Michel does miss time, Miller's likely to be part of a committee approach in New England. There's not a ton of reason to be excited about this signing for fantasy purposes, but Miller could be worth a late-round dart throw in deeper formats.

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Sony Michel Aug 10 10:30pm ET

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (foot) isn't a lock to be recovered by Week 1, putting a major question mark beside the back who most expected to lead this New England backfield in rushing attempts. The team signed veteran Lamar Miller as insurance on Monday, further complicating things and suggesting that Michel's injury issues will bleed over to the regular season. You almost have to be more wary of drafting Michel than you already were with this news, and you already should have been fairly low on him. He's not undraftable, but he's become a huge risk without a lot of upside.

From RotoBaller

Alvin Kamara Aug 10 5:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara spoke to the media earlier Monday and offered more details about his injury-plagued 2019 season. Kamara said he "tore his knee' in Week 5 against Jacksonville last year and that he had to deal with it the rest of the season. The 25-year-old didn't require surgery, though he spent the entire offseason rehabbing the knee and said he feels healthy now. Kamara finished as the RB16 in PPR formats despite dealing with the knee and ankle injuries. Coming into 2020 a bit leaner after adopting a plant-based diet, Kamara is poised to have the best season of his career in a contract year. He should be a top-five pick in both formats and could be taken as early as the third pick in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Green Aug 10 2:30pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green reportedly has been impressing teammates in practices this week as he works back from injuries that robbed him of his entire 2019 season. Tight end C.J. Uzomah told reporters, "We're just running routes and haven't gone full speed against the defense. Drew (Sample) only saw him last year for, what, that first practice? He said, 'I forgot how explosive he is.' I told him, 'You haven't seen the half of it yet.'" Green has serious bounce-back potential as the No. 1 WR in a Bengals offense that should be one of the most-improved in the league. He can be treated as an upside WR3 in fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

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Fantasy Spin: Reed has dealt with injuries during his career but has posted solid numbers when healthy. He will be the No. 2 tight end for the 49ers behind George Kittle but should have a decent role in the passing game. Reed probably should be considered a No. 2 fantasy tight end in most leagues.

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Tramaine Brock Aug 9 4:53pm ET

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Jatavis Brown Aug 9 4:23pm ET

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Mike Daniels Aug 9 3:33pm ET

Free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) is meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Aug. 9, and is expected to sign with the team, according to a source.

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A'Shawn Robinson Aug 9 3:03pm ET

Los Angeles Rams DT A'Shawn Robinson (undisclosed) is expected to play at some point during the 2020 season, but the team will take things slow with him since he was diagnosed with a medical issue during the medical on-boarding process.

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Aug 9 2:53pm ET

Buffalo Bills WR Duke Williams was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 9. The team also released CB Akeem King.

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Logan Thomas Aug 9 2:33pm ET

Washington Football Team TE Logan Thomas was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 9.

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J.J. Wilcox Aug 9 1:13pm ET

Free-agent S J.J. Wilcox (Falcons) officially re-signed with the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Aug. 9. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

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