The Cardinals will be relying on rookies Zach Allen and Byron Murphy right out of the gate, and their performances in Saturday’s preseason game against the Vikings should be a confidence boost as Week 1 approaches.
Allen finished the game with two tackles, a half-sack and another quarterback pressure in which he made an impressive move to get into the backfield. The defensive end was given an overall grade of 90.9 by Pro Football Focus, which was second on the team behind outside linebacker Brooks Reed.
Murphy earned a grade of 79.4, eighth-best on defense, which included an 80.6 grade in coverage. Murphy played both outside cornerback and in the slot, sometimes matching up with Vikings star wideout Stefon Diggs.
“Knowing you’re going to guard somebody on the other side of the ball that’s that good, you just want to come in and see what you can do,” Murphy said. “You see what you’re really made of.”
Murphy admitted there were come nerves early on, but “once I got a little feel for it, I got more comfortable as the game went.”
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury is excited about the growth of both players.
“There are always things you come out of the game and want to do better, but from Week 1 until last week, dramatic improvement,” Kingsbury said. “That’s what we were looking for, real progress from those guys -- two guys that, as young players, we are going to count on heavily during the season.”