Glendale Arizona–The new season early matchup for the Arizona Cardinals against their measuring stick opponent Los Angels Rams went down in Statefarm Stadium on Sunday and the results are pretty similar.
The last time these two teams played was in a Playoff wildcard game, where the Rams flexed their superior muscles and didn’t allow the Cardinals to get anything positive done in a blowout win.
Coming into a new season for the Cardinals, the Rams early are their measuring stick as to how far away these two teams are from each other.
The Rams are not playing at the level they were as a champion last year yet, and the Cardinals are not on their level today which means they are far away from being a contender.
Is that because of the absence of wide receiver Deandre Hopkins? Or has the starting quarterback Kyler Murray brought his level of play up a notch this season? Or could it be that Coach Kliff Kingsbury has yet to make the next jump in growing as a play-calling Head Coach?
One could ask the question, How much has Klifff stunted Murray’s growth as a quarterback in the last four years? And is he still the coach that will get this team to the next level.
How much further along should Kyler be in terms of being an elite quarterback, paying him a big contract doesn’t necessarily say that he is or will become an elite player.
Coaching plays a gigantic part in a good player becoming a pro and combined with his talent and a good effective system he may become an elite quarterback in the near future.
The pistol and shotgun system was designed for a quarterback that was not able to see the field in terms of reading the defense, and most running style QBs adopt this style to sustain some type of level in the league.
This style does not point them in the direction of being able to read what a defense is doing to them, and it almost limits him to one read and then run mentality.
Around the Arizona media there is much being said as to why Kyler Murray is never under center, and how much putting him under center will make this offense and his running that much more dangerous and less predictable.
Aaron Donald and the Rams defense always play Murray tough and not allow him to run around and make plays because they already know where he is going to be at the beginning of every play.
If he were under center there is a world of opportunity to manipulate a defense and use Murray’s pure throwing and running talent to their advantage.
Kyler under the center would open up the run game even more, as most running backs that run the way James Conner, Darrell William, and even Eno Benjamin, would love to get the ball going full speed ahead in power toward the hole and punish defenders.
Arizona only mustered up 70 yards on the ground, and it looked like they had the advantage coming in to put up a monster rushing game.
The Rams flipped the script and instead of only throwing the ball all over the yard, they ran all over the Cardinals’ defense for 100 yards in the second half of the game.
Murray threw the ball 58 times, and most of those throws were of the running yardage variety, and could not connect on the Deep ball with his struggling receivers.
Today his former teammate at Oklahoma Marguiss (Hollywood)Brown, finally looked like they were on the same page and he connected with him 14 times for 140 yards.
The rest of the receiving core was very pedestrian with the exception of Greg Dortch again, even the sure-handed tight end Zach Ertz dropped a few key passes on the day when they really needed him to come thru he wasn’t able to.
Ertz dropped a touchdown pass that could have changed the completion of this football game, instead, the Redbirds kicked field goals all day long and only scored 12 points.
Murray showed his frustration, in particular, to back up receiver Andy Isabella, who was in for the injured AJ Green who hurt his knee in the first quarter and still was ineffective in catching key clutch passes.
There was one play where Murray went deep to Isabella as he saw him with single coverage, and Andy didn’t think the play was coming to him and he stopped running and the ball sailed over his head by about 15 yards.
After that series ended, Murray was seen on the sideline talking to Isabella and that conversation did not look pleasant for the 3-year receiver.
When the game was over Murray also disclosed his frustration to the media about his receivers, “You have to be alert when your playing with me, I have free rein to do anything and you have to be ready even if you don’t think the ball is coming to you” that remark was directed to Andy Isabella and maybe it was an unnecessary shot at the young receiver, but its what h fans have bee screaming about Andy for 3 seasons now.
Now that AJ Green is hurt and may be out, the team is really depleted in the wideout area, perhaps they may need to go shopping for another spark that can ignite this offense until Hopkins returns.
There are so many things that have to be corrected in the Cardinals for this season, but there is still time as everyone else except the Rams in your division lost, and you are only a game out of first.
The schedule on paper looks like it should get a little lighter, but in the NFL nothing is easy, and if you don’t bring a team ready to play and focused you can be beaten by anyone.
The Cardinals’ next opponent in history also has their number, The Carolina Panthers on the road in Charlotte has not been a good place for them to play regardless of who is on the team.
Murray versus Baker Mayfield has worked in the Cardinals’ favor so far two times in their careers, but again, there is something about the Panthers that brings out the worst in the Cardinals.