When he was on the sideline that day, watching the play, running back Chase Edmonds didn’t think much of it – a run-of-the-mill crossing pattern from Kyler Murray to Larry Fitzgerald some 15 yards downfield.
Later, seeing the play from the end zone view while the Cardinals recapped that initial outdoor training camp practice, Edmonds better understood what he saw.
Murray stood in the pocket as Fitzgerald was coming across left to right. As he cocked to throw, a defensive tackle across from the left guard clogged the window, forcing Murray to drop side-arm and whip it around his head. When Fitzgerald emerged, the ball hit him in stride as Fitzgerald was reaching the area across from the right tackle.
“It was something special to see,” Edmonds said. “I’m a fan of football. The minute I saw that, it reminded me of a Patty Mahomes-type of throw. You see how (Chiefs QB) Patty Mahomes throws it so effortlessly, it was cool to see from the end zone.”
From the time he started playing quarterback – Murray estimated he was about 8 years old, transitioning from running back – his father Kevin, a one-time Texas A&M star quarterback, drilled him on the fundamentals of passing. Mechanics, footwork, and arm motion all were part of the lessons taught.
That helps Murray with the arm angles and ability to deliver in all manners. But the accuracy itself, “a lot of it is God-gifted,” Murray said.
“As far as being accurate goes, you either are or you aren’t,” he added.
Murray already showed off in the preseason opener, completing 6-of-7 passes (and actually completing that seventh, only to have it wiped away because rookie receiver KeeSean Johnson stepped out of bounds and then came back in the game before making the catch.)
Murray is hoping to get more attempts Thursday at home against the Raiders. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Murray will get more work than he did against the Chargers, although that exact number of snaps is to be determined.
Whether it is practice or that first game, Murray has already proven himself on target with his arm talent. Wide receiver Christian Kirk said he’s seen it all the way back to working with Murray at high school camps and when they spent a season together at Texas A&M -- “He’s a special talent for sure” – and working with a quarterback who can put it exactly where needed puts an offense so much further ahead.
When Murray has an errant throw, that’s when eyebrows are raised.
“I’ve been around some pretty good ones and he’s up there when you are talking touch and accuracy and consistently throw a tight spiral,” Kingsbury said. “If he doesn’t throw a spiral I look at him and are like, ‘you good?’ ”
In the pocket or on the move, Murray doesn’t seem to have many issues. As Mahomes took the league by storm last season, passes delivered on the money from all angles became the norm. Edmonds believes that will become a trend in the NFL.
“(New scheming) really dictates what is truly a throwing window is now,” Edmonds said. “Kyler, you can already see, can manipulate and maneuver those throwing windows.”
There is still a learning curve. Murray said he is just starting to figure out on the NFL level what he can and cannot do in terms of squeezing passes into tight windows – and whether the risk is worth it.
But in a league where teams still often try to take a player with a big arm and little accuracy and “fix” his issue, Murray already has both.
“That’s one of those million-dollar questions that coaches have tried to figure out for a long time,” Kingsbury said. “When you have it, you’ve got it. If you don’t, it’s hard to build it. You can improve it. But a guy like (Kyler), who is that accurate and throws with that type of touch, those are hard to come by.”
Images from Sunday afternoon's practice at State Farm Stadium