It's why elite pass rushers have difficulty generating sacks on the signal-caller. Just ask Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who nearly recorded his third sack of the season on the quarterback until the speedy Murray slipped away. It's a tool and advantage coach Kliff Kingsbury enjoys having at his disposal.
"I want him to run all the time," Kingsbury said Wednesday. "But that's not his type of party."
Murray would rather be more of a pocket passer and use his legs as a luxury – to put pressure on opposing defenses when the pocket collapses and to avoid injury. Murray scrambled on a play last season against the Seahawks, and Carlos Dunlap landed on his throwing shoulder, attempting to make a routine tackle. The injury bothered Murray much of the second half of the season.
This year, Murray is again in the MVP conversation. This time, the quarterback is passing more and running less. He has 109 rushing yards through four games, a pace of 464 for the season that would leave him far short of the 819 he had a year ago.
Murray uses his wheels when needed. He just does it when it feels necessary, without as many designed runs. The adjustment has worked for the Cardinals, who sport the No. 1 offense in the NFL.
"I think we just came to a mutual understanding," Kingsbury said. "How we can maximize you as a quarterback and take advantage of that God-given ability you have to run as fast as anybody I have ever seen. So, I think we're at a good place with it.
"He's playing really good from the pocket, and when he needs to run, he's running."
Although Murray and Kingsbury talk and the quarterback acknowledges his preferences, the quarterback said he never directly requested Kingsbury to adjust to less running.
"I think they just know," Murray said. "I've never really told him 'Don't put this in there' or anything like that. I think it's just about being smart and understanding the time and need of me doing those things."
LENGTHY INJURY REPORT; DANIELS TO COVID LIST
The Cardinals had a large injury list after the win over the Rams, with 10 players not practicing all told. Four players were simply out for rest: wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, center Rodney Hudson, linebacker Chandler Jones and defensive lineman Corey Peters. Running back James Conner was absent for personal reasons. Wide receiver A.J. Green was limited while resting as well.
Out with injury were running back Chase Edmonds (shoulder), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (ankle), cornerback Byron Murphy (ribs), guard Justin Pugh (hip) and tight end Maxx Williams (shoulder).
Tackle Kelvin Beachum (ribs), running back Eno Benjamin (hamstring) and offensive lineman Justin Murray (back) were all limited.
In the open part of Cardinals practice Wednesday, cornerback Byron Murphy, running back Chase Edmonds, running back James Conner were not present. Tight end Maxx Williams and cornerback Antonio Hamilton were working on the side.
The Cardinals also put tight end Darrell Daniels on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
For the 49ers, sitting out were quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (calf), tight end George Kittle (calf), tackle Trent Williams (shoulder), defensive end Samson Ebukam (hamstring), cornerback K'Waun Williams (calf) and center Alex Mack (rest). Limited were defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (knee), running back Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) and cornerback Josh Norman (chest).
PRACTICE SQUAD ADDITIONS
The Cardinals signed running back Tavien Feaster, cornerback Greg Mabin and offensive lineman Koda Martin to the practice squad, and lost practice-squad cornerback Rasul Douglas when he signed with the Packers.
Feaster was cut by the Cardinals at the end of camp. Martin was cut from the roster earlier this week.
Mabin, an undrafted free agent, who signed with Tampa Bay in 2017 has split time with several franchises including San Francisco, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati. In that span, the cornerback has made five starts in 34 career games.