Kyler Murray may play Sunday. He may not. But whoever is playing, the quarterback has some very blunt thoughts of how the Cardinals can climb out of their morass of poor performances.
"Everybody's looking for these answers," Murray said, some exasperated and not surprisingly so. "The answer is do your job."
Murray was just getting started.
"Do your job better, understand what you have to do, understand how we're blocking this protection, my drop and the depth on your route," he said. "There's no magic wand for the mistakes. All you've got to do is do your job. I can live with me throwing a pick, but I'm going to be pissed off. I can live with somebody dropping the ball, somebody missing a block or missing a cut. That's just going to happen, but not knowing what you're doing and the mental mistakes—that just can't happen.
"We don't have a chance at that point, but everybody makes mistakes on Sundays as far as, like I said, missing blocks, and everybody throws picks. Everybody does that. That stuff is going to happen, but the good teams don't make those mental errors. We're not making penalties and just doing stuff that's not winning football. I don't want to keep going on about it, but if we clean those things up we're probably not looking the way we are."
It sounds simple because it is simple. It was funny – Vance Joseph talked this week about how NFL games were determined by mistakes. He was asked about his "Hard Knocks" scene where he was lamenting the defense getting beat by the bootleg pass at the end of the Seahawks game even though they had specifically talked about the boot pass during prep all week.
Mistakes, Joseph said, are made every game. By both teams. Who makes the least makes a difference. That's what Kyler is talking about.
-- When Kliff Kingsbury starts talking about Kyler being able to be comfortable moving around on the field, I get concerned – especially since that was the mindset when one week dragged to two dragged to three last year when Murray missed time with his ankle. It'll be truly fascinating if it ends up being Colt McCoy versus John Wolford Sunday.
-- Budda, thanks for making me look pretty dumb just a day later for this story.
-- Although Budda did tell me "don't count me out." Still, to see him with even a chance to play after there was a national report he would miss two to three games is incredible. The Cardinals are 3-6 and Budda, as expected, just wants to play football as soon as he can.
-- DeAndre Hopkins was caught by "Hard Knocks" cameras wondering to coach Shawn Jefferson if he could still make the Hall of Fame after his PED suspension. (He can, by the way). Does he worry about people's perception of him now? Not really.
"I really don't care about how people perceive me," Hopkins said. "I know who I am. I know I have never taken anything to cheat or take advantage of this game. For me, I don't care. But moreso, Hall of Fame, I was told there was a possibility you can't make it (with a PED suspension), but I have been told by some people after watching "Hard Knocks" I can still make it, so I feel better."
Hop called the Hall of Fame possibility "very important" to him. "The Hall of Fame is a personal goal that when you play this game, that's where you want to be. And I feel it's very reachable for myself."
-- Kingsbury said the Cardinals "will probably play multiple people in the game to find the best combination" when it comes to the beat-to-hell offensive line. Could that mean Sean Harlow and Billy Price at center? Harlow at some guard instead of Lecitus Smith? As it stands, assuming Cody Ford is over his illness, it'll be Price at center, with Ford at left guard and Smith at right guard.
And Aaron Donald on the interior for the Rams defensive line.
"He's a really really good football player and everyone knows this," Smith said. "He's a dog. But I'm going to prepare like I do every day. I'm not going to change just because it's him – 'OK, I gotta ramp it up' – but I'll prepare and stay true to myself. Do what I do, except better."
-- For all the issues the Rams have had on offense – and there are many – the defense has been good. They remain one of the top units in the league and are the best in the NFL in not allowing explosive (defined as 20-plus yards) plays. That's notable against a Cardinals' offense that has struggled creating explosive plays.
Part of the reason for the Cardinals is that Murray isn't throwing the ball down the field much. His yards per attempt is 6.0 this season, compared to 7.9 last season. The Cardinals have completed 24 passes that have gained at least 20 yards – but only nine of those have traveled at least 20 yards in the air. The Cards only have one pass completed that traveled 30 yards in the air. And they have no completions of any kind this season of at least 40 yards. That's why they need Robbie Anderson to make a contribution, and why they are counting the days until Hollywood Brown returns.
-- For all the Cardinals' offensive issues, though, it is the Rams who are last in the league in yards per play.
-- Props to tackle Kelvin Beachum, who was named the NFLPA’s community MVP for the week – the first time a player has won the honor five times. Beachum hosted a food distribution for 200 families at the Eisenhower School of Innovation in Mesa. He also donated $5,000. And truth be told, Beach is doing this every week somewhere. He could probably own the award if that's what the NFLPA wanted to do.
-- Hopkins needs 121 yards to reach 11,000 for his career.
-- It's quiet – and it probably speaks to the lack of tight end production over the years more than anything else for this franchise – but Zach Ertz only needs four catches to reach 50 for the season, and this is only the Cardinals' 10th game. It will be only the fourth season ever in which a Cardinals tight end will have 50 catches. And one of those was Ertz's 56 last year when he was only around for 11 games.
That 56-catch season tied the franchise record, with the 56 Jackie Smith had in 1967. And the only other 50-catch tight end season was the 55 Freddie Jones had in 2003. Amazing.
-- Joseph didn't want to talk about the defense getting worn down because the defense needs to do a better job getting off the field. The Seahawks converted seven straight third downs in the two game-clinching touchdown drives last week. And the Cardinals have allowed opponents to score touchdowns in the last 11 straight red-zone visits.
-- The last word comes from J.J. Watt, who was asked about how the Colts won six of seven after they started appearing on "Hard Knocks," and if there could be some correlation to the cameras and winning with "Hard Knocks" now featuring the Cardinals.
"If cameras or media or a television show motivates you, you're in the wrong place," Watt said. "None of that sh** matters. We've got to win football games. No. We've got to win football games. I sure as hell hope that because you're on TV, you're not more motivated to win."