It's the preseason, vanilla and all that, but the Cardinals really didn't want to let the Chargers march down inside the 5 to start the game Thursday night. But they came up with a turnover -- a nice double-team effort by free-agent signees Darius Philon and Jordan Hicks -- and that allowed the Kyler Murray Era (preseason version) to begin.
Of course, it also meant his first snap came deep in his own end zone, because he was in the shotgun.
"I was happy the defense got the stop, and I was like, 'Of course, this is the way that is starts, at the 2-yard line,' " Murray said with a smile.
Not that it really bothered him. The first play was a straight handoff to David Johnson. But eventually he played 10 official snaps, he completed 6-of-7 passes, and while the drive ultimately stalled, it was hard not to feel good about the rookie QB. And that's what Kliff Kingsbury had said all along right? That he wanted Murray to feel good about his showing. Murray kinda did -- he said he really wanted to score -- but it's hard to believe anyone not named Murray wouldn't have been thrilled.
Steve Keim warned last week about tempering enthusiasm, and that is something to think about. There is a lot of preseason left. We are still a month away from a regular-season game. But Kingsbury said Murray will likely play a little more next week against the Raiders on ESPN (words that have to thrill Bristol) and the kid has yet to do anything but inspire hope.
-- The foot injury to cornerback Byron Murphy isn't serious, apparently an old injury that came back up to bother Murphy, Sitting out sounded almost precautionary. But any lost time for a rookie will make immediate impact in the regular season that much more difficult.
-- Kevin White's hamstring injury could cost him in a tight wide receiver battle. Trent Sherfield took a big step forward. One thing to note: There was only one Cardinal who was dressed and did not play Thursday. Wide receiver Chad Williams. It's looking more and more that his chances at the 53-man roster are fading.
-- I thought backup QB Brett Hundley looked pretty comfortable running Kingsbury's offense.
-- Murray is going to have to get used to something else in the NFL -- the postgame chats. It's a normal thing these days, especially with high-profile quarterbacks, going around and talking with guys from the other team.
"It's a little weird," Murray said. "I know it's preseason, so people aren't really taking it to heart right now, but that first loss, I don't know if I'll want to go across and talk to people."
-- The Cardinals played top backup tackles Rees Odhiambo and Korey Cunningham for the majority of the game. They are hoping one steps up to be the third/swing tackle. Kingsbury wasn't giving any snap judgments on the line, saying he needed to watch the video, but both guys collected two holding penalties each -- not ideal.
-- Speaking of penalties, the Chargers managed to commit four on one play, as they were trying to return a punt. I've never seen three penalties all declined in favor of a fourth. Such a preseason thing to happen.
-- If the Cards want to keep a bruising big back, maybe Wes Hills is the guy. He's a punisher. If nothing else, he's a prime practice-squad candidate.
That's enough for tonight. The Cardinals resume training camp practice Saturday at 1 p.m.