Kyler Murray and the new-look Arizona Cardinals offense was a dud in last week’s game against the Raiders.
Among the given reasons for the problems: A vanilla scheme that didn’t want to reveal too much during the preseason.
That could change – ever so slightly – when the Cardinals travel to face the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday.
”I know there will be a couple of wrinkles,” said Murray, who then broke into a grin. ”We won’t be running the same five plays we have been.”
Coach Kliff Kingsbury and Murray aren’t saying that the offense will empty the playbook against the Vikings, but there might be a slightly better feel for how this team might actually look on Sundays during the regular season.
After the tough times in the 33-26 loss to Oakland , which included a 26-0 deficit by midway through the second quarter, there’s even more of a sense of urgency.
Murray was 3 of 8 passing for 12 yards against the Raiders. The No. 1 overall pick was also sacked twice, including once for a safety, and was called for two false starts.
Vanilla offense or not, the Cardinals insist that can’t happen again.
They ended training camp on Sunday and are in a routine that’s closer to their normal game-week schedule. They’re hoping that change – along with sleeping in their own beds – will bring better results against the Vikings.
”We’ve targeted Week 3, just like most NFL teams, as the point in preseason where you want to work your processes and work your installations to an extent and do some different things,” Kingsbury said.
Murray took the rough game in stride, saying it was in the past. Kingsbury said the 22-year-old is handling the setback just fine.
”This is a humbling sport and a humbling game,” Kingsbury said. ”You’re going to go through some ups and downs. Everybody does. Everybody has. He understands that and has a good feel for who he’s trying to be as a player, a leader and the face of this franchise.”
Murray isn’t the only person who could use a confidence-boost over the final two preseason games. Several young players such as receiver Andy Isabella are among those trying to solidify their roles in the offense.
The 5-foot-9 Isabella, who was drafted in the second round, caught a 59-yard touchdown pass against the Raiders. He said there’s a different energy around the team now that the regular season is rapidly approaching.
”You can definitely tell that everything is a little more heated,” Isabella said.
Murray hasn’t appeared rattled by the ups and downs of training camp and the preseason’s first few games, but Kingsbury said his quarterback isn’t satisfied. He said all the good quarterbacks he’s coached don’t take losses lightly.
”They despise losing,” Kingsbury said. ”It makes them physically ill. Can’t sleep. Can’t eat. And that’s what you want.”
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(photo courtesy of Arizona Cardinals)