Kliff Kingsbury plans plenty of five-wide receiver formations

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New Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is planning to put a lot of wide receivers on the field with his new quarterback Kyler Murray.

Kingsbury told Peter King in Football Morning in America that he sees the offense he’ll run in Arizona as “very similar” to the one Murray ran at Oklahoma with coach Lincoln Riley. And Kingsbury said that will include more five-receiver sets than the NFL is accustomed to seeing.

“His ability to escape the pocket, escape those D-lineman when they can’t get off blocks—it’s just unique. And to still be able to drop back and survey the field and still be able to get the ball out on time, get through his progressions . . . When you spread people out he’s a weapon in a bunch of different ways. That’s tough on defenses because if you want to rush him upfield and he takes off, good luck catching him. And if you sit back, he can still pick you apart. The way we spread people out, the tempo in which we play, he’s the guy who can really thrive in system. We’re going to play the game at times wider than probably most people do in the league. We’re going to use the entire field and make them cover five wides and the quarterback and that’s tough on defenses.”

The Cardinals return Larry Fitzgerald, a veteran who isn’t the elite player he used to be but will be a great mentor to the younger receivers. Those younger receivers include second-round pick Andy Isabella, fourth-round pick Hakeem Butler and sixth-round pick KeeSean Johnson, plus last year’s second-round pick Christian Kirk, 2017 third-round pick Chad Williams, and new arrival Kevin White, who was a bust with the Bears but has the talent that made him a Top 10 pick. If Kingsbury can get the most out of his young receivers, and Fitzgerald can prove he has something left, Murray is going to have a lot of good options, and opposing defenses are going to struggle to match up with the Cardinals’ offense.

51 responses to “Kliff Kingsbury plans plenty of five-wide receiver formations

  1. Yeah, I really hope this is a smoke screen for other teams. 5 receivers with no running back to protect him, while a rookie QB is trying to read an NFL defense? And the defensive linemen can pin their ears back and rush the QB? This won’t end well.

    Wade Phillips and Aaron Donald are already licking their chops…

  2. Too bad their #1 pick is a one read and run QB.

    you’re joking right?! kyler is not a one read QB, you cant amass the passing yards he did last year being a one read QB.

  3. You know why those offenses work so well in the Big 12? Because they don’t play defense in the Big 12.

    Both Murray and Kingsbury are in for a very rude awakening when they realize what NFL defenses are capable of.

  4. Id be nervous if I was an NFC West team. If Kyler is close to as good as he was in college he’ll be a superstar. I think it’s going to work in today’s NFL.

  5. I am curious to see how it plays out. But, it could lead defenses to not rush as hard and just try to bat down his passes at the line. That said, I applaud a team trying something different, whether or not it ends up working out.

  6. Steve Spurrier tried taking his 5-wide Fun’N’Gun to the NFL and … well, the QBs got hit a lot. It’s honestly probably a better environment for it today than it was in 2003, however. While I’m skeptical, it should at least be interesting — which the Cardinals were most definitely not last season.

  7. The cardinals has a GM that has proven to be an utter failure. They have a new Head Coach that was not good enough to keep his job as a college head coach. And now they have a QB that doesn’t have the physical profile to have even been drafted never mind #1 overall.

    But this is going turn out well…….

  8. Sounds impressive and innovative. As long as the OL performs better than last year it may be something. Like that Kingsbury is bringing something new to the table for the Cards. Gonna be HOT T T T in the desert!

  9. This is not new, or revolutionary, it’s been around a long time, the only thing “new” is Kingsbury/Murray in the NFL, new world, different day. Five receivers aren’t going to matter if they never get the ball in their hands bc the QB wasn’t protected and is on his back under a pile.
    Obviously KK hasn’t watched Arizona football all that much and is expecting all of his players to be healthy, young, energetic kids…lol, dude you better look again, this is big boy football, not a frat party scrimmage.

  10. Too bad their #1 pick is a one read and run QB
    — and what is josh allen? funny how qbs from certain um backgrounds are given time to develop… meanwhile kyler hasn’t even taken a snap. hmmm

  11. I am curious to see how it plays out. But, it could lead defenses to not rush as hard and just try to bat down his passes at the line

    That’s why they’ll do some run fake options to keep em honest. In fact, Kingsbury will run the ball a good amount from the shotgun. The whole point of the strategy is to set up the run with heavy passing.

  12. “If Kyler is close to as good as he was in college he’ll be a superstar.”

    You could say this same thing about basically every guy taken in the first couple rounds. The problem is the “if” at the front of the sentence.

  13. mantorras says:
    April 30, 2019 at 10:16 am
    Too bad their #1 pick is a one read and run QB
    — and what is josh allen? funny how qbs from certain um backgrounds are given time to develop… meanwhile kyler hasn’t even taken a snap. hmmm
    Given time to develop by whom? FANS??? LOL – Are you trying to make this a racial thing? He was taken Number 1 overall. Calm down – he’ll be “given time to develop”. Take a nap or ask your Mommy for a snack – maybe you need a snickers.

  14. I’m sure it’ll be exciting and entertaining. But there is a reason the guy did nothing but lose at the collegiate level.

    With Patrick Mahomes, the only teams Kingsbury was able to defeat are Stephen F. Austin, Baylor, Louisiana Tech, Texas Christian, and Kansas.

    Neither Kingsbury nor Murray will be in the league in 2025.

  15. I’m sorry, but if it were as simple as spreading out the defense and executing then the best passers (best at reading NFL defenses) in the league (Brees, Brady, Luck etc.) would run it a lot more often don’t you think?

  16. Murray will not make it 16 games. Will be the most sacked, most hit QB at the time of his season ending injury

  17. Uhm, I don’t quite understand why a QB would be acclaimed for his ability to “escape those D-lineman when they can’t get off blocks”.

  18. “I am curious to see how it plays out. But, it could lead defenses to not rush as hard and just try to bat down his passes at the line”

    Having watched a lot of Big 12 football, stopping that offense isn’t so much about balls being batted down as it is the secondary quickly making tackles. The games Mahomes lost at Tech looked good for him statistically except for having low yards per attempt. I expect Murray will have a good completion percentage but they’ll struggle to score because NFL defenders don’t miss a lot of tackles. That offense is totally dependent on guys either totally missing assignments in coverage or missing the first tackle.

  19. billsbackto81 says:
    April 30, 2019 at 9:14 am
    Good way to get your brand new quarterback killed.
    Thinking the exact same thing. Kid is not built to take hits.

  20. Somebody might want to tell this guy that the hashes aren’t as wide in the NFL, which is why a lot of that stuff has been tried and has failed in the past in the league.

  21. Better have the O-line to protect your QB. Football isn’t won by play calling. You need the talent to execute the play. If you are stacked with talent it doesn’t really matter what your scheme is.

  22. Whether you line up with five receivers or 5 RB’s, the bottom line is winning. My biggest concern is the backup QB position. When you have a running QB, his backup becomes the second most important guy in the entire organization. He better keep his helmet on and his chin strap buckled.

  23. People pointing to his combine weight are mistaken. Murray had to put on 20 pounds just to reach the magical 200 pound threshold at the Combine and keep it on for his pro day. Notice how he didn’t do any of the running drills because he was so bloated. Yes, he was “heavier” than Russell Wilson, but Wilson’s playing weight is around 220 whereas Murray’s playing weight is about 180-190.

  24. At least at Oklahoma Murray had a decent o-line that looked good against inferior talent and defenses that were slow. The free agent signing of JR Sweezy, who can’t pass block that is why he looks good at Seattle they run a lot, ought to make that line superior to the likes of Donald, Wagner and now Bosa. Murray will have about a second, maybe 2 to make a decision before he gets planted by the LB or DE that can run nearly as fast as he can. You can talk about Bama, but only a few on the D were good enough to get drafted or signed as free agents. All college teams are inferior for team talent. It simply is can Murray approve enough and adjusted to the NFL speed and power of the game, many don’t that is why 50% of 1st rounders don’t make it very long in the NFL, they peaked in college.

  25. He doesn’t do it nearly as often as he did back in 2001 to 2006 but Brady was the master of spreading out the field in 5 wide sets.

  26. “those D-lineman when they can’t get off blocks”

    That might be a bit of a problem, Kliff…

  27. savagenation2011 says:
    April 30, 2019 at 11:01 am
    “5 wide means only 4 block..and 1 is the guy hiking the ball….yikes”

    Ummmm, you know there are 11 players allowed on the field for both the offense and the defense. So if they go 5 wide they will be going empty backfield, which would leave 5 lineman to block. Also one of the key blockers is always the guy snapping the ball. I am going to break this down for your:

    Player 1 – QB
    Payers 2-6(5) – WRs
    Player 7 – RT
    Player 8 RG
    Player 9 C
    Player 10 LG
    Player 11 LT

    Going 5 wide is a radical idea and probably won’t work, but playing with only 10 offensive players is just crazy and absolutely will fail against an 11 player defense.

  28. There are a lot of problems with a run and shoot offensive scheme and there always has been. I think the main problem is with this coach not understanding the difference between the college level talent and speed versus the pros. First Murray’s height is going to be an issue with being able to put the ball through the throwing windows that open up in the pros. Both the offensive and defensive linemen are across the board taller, with larger wing spans then the college level. Whereas Murray playing behind a college trench would afford him the ability to pick up the throwing windows he is going to have a hard time seeing the openings in the middle of the field, which would typically be where some of the hot reads will be. Additionally pro defenses are predicated on confusion and speed, they often times disguise what they are going by their formation and then use their speed to exploit the temporary holes that their tactics open up. Defensive ends will drop into coverage while LB’s and safeties blitz, the wide corners might blitz while the safety slides over into coverage, etc. A rookie QB not accustom to reading and reacting to defenses with only a very shaky 5 man line to protect him is most likely going to get killed in the NFL, and their new coach – as a failed college level coach doesn’t have the understanding of the NFL game to recognize this.

    I love when a college coach comes in and thinks he is smarter than the established NFL coaches, it always works out so well. Just ask Washington under Spurrier and Philadelphia under Kelly . . . those guys worked out great with all their offensive innovation!

  29. Let me help someone with his/her math:

    11 players minus 5 wide minus 1 QB – = 5 left blocking, not 4.

    Other than that, I agree with everything the poster stated, including there is a guy who hikes the ball.

  30. The funniest thing about these posts are that a vast majority of people who chimed in, have NO CLUE when it comes to the actual xs and os of football on any level.

  31. Kingsbury was a failed college coach with a losing record. Even Mahomes had a losing record under his “system.” If Mahomes could not win, I don’t know who could! Fact: Kingbury’s “system” has so far not proven successful. If my team hired a college coach with a losing record, no NFL coaching experience and happy to take a demotion to USC OC, I’d question their decision-making abilities. Rosen hitting the bricks is more a reflection on Kingsbury’s questionable system and the GM’s questionable decision-making than an indictment on him!

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