He might not have been in uniform Friday night, but Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was still able to put into practice what he did in the weeks leading up to the first preseason game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Murray, along with co-pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Cam Turner, helped call offensive plays in the fourth quarter of the Cardinals’ 36-23 win over the Bengals. Murray was on a headset and forwarded his plays to quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, who played the entire second half.
Murray was responsible for two actual series and then the two kneeling games to end the game, which manager Kliff Kingsbury said after the game Murray’s preferred style of play was not. Arizona went three-and-out in both of Murray’s series — the “last thing I expected,” Kingsbury said — with three pass plays and two run plays.
Guarantano was also fired for a play. The Cardinals have gained a total of 15 yards in these games.
“He came up with some really nice pieces,” Kingsbury said. “It just didn’t work out. Had a few people open. He’s doing a good job with it. I was impressed.”
Kingsbury gave Murray no parameters on Friday night. However, Murray was about to throw the ball when Arizona got it back 1:14 in the game, but Kingsbury put the kibosh on it.
“That wouldn’t happen,” Kingsbury panned.
Kingsbury took off his headset in the fourth quarter to avoid putting even more pressure on Murray. Delegating a responsibility like play calling came as a bit of a relief to Kingsbury.
“I liked it,” he said. “I think the administrative head coach role suits me in a way. Maybe one day I’ll find out. I could sleep a lot longer.” Yeah, it’s fun to just see the overall macro perspective and take it all in and not always get so consumed by theatrical calls and things like that.
Murray, who hasn’t trained since Aug. 5 due to a sore wrist and then COVID-19, has been calling games during practice. He started calling her on a handheld mic and switched to the headset. Kingsbury didn’t want to commit to Murray asking for more games in the offseason, saying “we’ll see,” but he wants to involve the quarterback in some way.
Early in the game, Murray found another way to get involved. He was spotted by cameras handing out water to teammates on the sidelines. Whatever the role on Friday night, Murray accepted it.
“He did a good job,” Kingsbury said. “He likes it, he’s happy when good things happen and he’s a tough coach when bad things happen.”
ESPN’s Ben Baby contributed to this story.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34392185/kyler-murray-dons-headset-calls-plays-arizona-cardinals-first-preseason-game Kyler Murray dons headset, calls plays in Arizona Cardinals’ first preseason game