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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
Amari Cooper Jul 23 12:10am ET

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Allen Bailey Jul 22 10:53pm ET

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Matt Elam Jul 22 10:33pm ET

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Frank Gore Jul 22 10:13pm ET

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Jack Cichy Jul 22 9:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jack Cichy (knee) is making solid progress in his recovery, and the team hopes he will be able to practice in about three weeks and possibly play in the third preseason game.

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J.J. Wilcox Jul 22 9:13pm ET

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Austin Traylor Jul 22 9:03pm ET

Free-agent TE Austin Traylor (AAF) signed with the Detroit Lions Monday, July 22. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

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Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Jul 22 8:53pm ET

Chicago Bears FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (knee) was officially placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 22.

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Deion Jones Jul 22 7:33pm ET

Atlanta Falcons LB Deion Jones (foot) did not participate in practice Monday, July 22.

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J.J. Wilcox Jul 22 7:23pm ET

Atlanta Falcons SS J.J. Wilcox (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Monday, July 22, and will miss the 2019 season, according to sources.

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Jake Butt Jul 22 7:03pm ET

Denver Broncos TE Jake Butt (knee) did not participate in practice Monday, July 22. The team hopes he will be able to practice Wednesday, July 24, after three days of rest.

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Justin Hunter Jul 22 6:53pm ET

Free-agent WR Justin Hunter (Steelers) is not expected to sign with the New England Patriots at this point even though he worked out for the team Monday, July 22.

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DeAndre Hopkins Jul 22 6:40pm ET

While Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) and defensive end J.J. Watt (knee) are starting training camp on the PUP list and will be unable to practice, their stays on those lists are expected to only last a few days. Both players are expected to return to practice soon, and while it would be a surprise if either player takes the field during the preseason, both will be fine for Week 1. Hopkins has a chance to finish as the overall WR1, while Watt is one of the most valuable IDP defensive ends in the NFL.

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Melvin Gordon Jul 22 6:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon recently suggested he wants to be traded if the Chargers don't offer him a contract extension, and on Monday word came that the Chargers do not currently have interest in discussing Gordon's contract situation. Yahoo's Charles Robinson reports that the Chargers are "dug in" on their current stance, which means Gordon will now have to decide if he follows through on threats to hold out. Gordon's a RB1 who should be picked in the second half of the first round if he's on the field, but this situation creates a ton of uncertainty. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson are worth picking slightly sooner than their ADPs at this point because of the Gordon situation.

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Josh Bynes Jul 22 6:23pm ET

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Roc Thomas Jul 22 6:20pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings have parted ways with running back Roc Thomas, who was set to miss the first three games of the season after being suspended for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. The move isn't a huge surprise, though Minnesota is now fairly shallow at running back beyond Dalvin Cook and rookie Alexander Mattison. Thomas had just 10 touches as a rookie, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him not make it onto a roster this season, especially with that looming suspension.

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Ryan Griffin Jul 22 6:10pm ET

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Frank Gore Jul 22 6:03pm ET

Buffalo Bills RB Frank Gore (undisclosed) was placed on the Non-Football Injury list Monday, July 22. The Bills also placed TE Tyler Kroft (foot) and OG Jeremiah Sirles (undisclosed) on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.

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Marcus Maye Jul 22 5:33pm ET

New York Jets S Marcus Maye (shoulder, thumb) and S Brandon Bryant (undisclosed) were placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 22. The club also placed CB Blessuan Austin (knee) on the Active/Non-football Injury list.

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Nick Williams Jul 22 4:53pm ET

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