Kyler Murray had a rest day during the Cardinals’ practice on Saturday. But that doesn’t mean the fourth-year quarterback had the day off.
Instead, Murray faced an interesting challenge from coach Kliff Kingsbury: calling in plays to the quarterbacks who were practicing. Kingsbury claimed it was a lesson to show how difficult it is to call plays over the radio (and, he admitted, was predicated on some head-shaking by the franchise quarterback).
“I just wanted him to know that, hey, this s—t ain’t easy,” Kingsbury said (via the Cardinals). “Every now and then, he starts shaking his head when I’m calling it in there, I’m like, ‘Alright big dog.’
Anytime we can keep him involved. He was coaching them up right until the last second, like while they were trying to throw he was saying stuff to them, so probably won’t be doing that again.
Kingsbury said Murray mostly did a good job in the new role, with Colt McCoy taking first-team reps. He did have one caveat:
“I would not want to play for Kyler Murray if I was a quarterback and he was the coach.”
Murray’s play-calling days were short-lived, at least for the foreseeable future. Regardless, Murray’s brief foray into coaching follows an offseason of drama with Arizona, the latest of which was a bizarre independent study clause in his new $230.5 million contract.
The clause, which was removed after creating an unwanted “distraction,” dictated that Murray have at least four hours of study, outside of regular Cardinals study sessions, on that week’s opponent. Though Murray and his representation reportedly had no issue with the clause before agreeing to the contract, ensuing breakdowns of the contract prompted him to speak out against it:
“To think that I can accomplish everything I’ve accomplished in my career and not be a student of the game and not have that passion and not take this serious is disrespectful and it’s almost a joke,” he said.
To me, I’m honestly flattered that y’all think that at my size I can go out there and not prepare for the game and not take it serious. It’s disrespectful to my peers, to all the great athletes and players that are in this league. This game’s too hard to play, the position that I play in this league, it’s too hard.
Whether Kingsbury’s challenge to Murray had anything to do with that brief controversy is unknown. But it’s clear the coach at least is embracing the mental aspect of Murray’s game by allowing him to call plays.
We’ll see how much of that bleeds into the regular season as the Cardinals seek to build off an 11-6 record and playoff berth.