The Hail Murray ended up being the high point of Arizona’s 2020 season. The thrilling finish and unlikely win over the Bills pushed the Cardinals to 6-3.
After that, they finished 2-5 and ended up 8-8.
The problem, as Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray explained it to reporters on Thursday, was that his shoulder injury caused him to run less. The passing game sputtered, and the end result was that the Cardinals lost their early-season magic.
Moving forward, Murray wants to throw more, and to run less.
“Honestly, the way I see it is, my legs should be a luxury,” Murray said. “And it kind of wasn’t like that last year. It was me having to run for us in a sense. Once my shoulder was banged up and I wasn’t trying to put myself out there and take those hits, we hit a lull. Honestly, I think it was a lesson for us. We can’t be one-dimensional. We’ve got be better in all aspects of the game.”
They should be able to do it, given the signing of A.J. Green and the selection of second-round receiver Rondale Moore.
“More weapons than I can ask for,” Murray said.
He’s determined to take his game to the next level in 2021. Coach Kliff Kingsbury sees it.
“You can definitely see that he’s very confident,” Kingsbury told reporters. “He has a look in his eye that he wants to take a huge step this year. He definitely has the ability to do so. We did some good things last year and made some big strides. I anticipate us doing even more this season.”
They need to. The Cardinals are stuck in the toughest division in football; if they were still in the NFC East, they’d arguably be the best team. In the NFC West, they could end up better than last year — and still in last place.
Regardless, Murray has shown that he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. If he’s going to join the short list of franchise quarterbacks, this is the year to do it.