Snap Clap Confusion Continues To Cause Issues For Cardinals

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury watches from the sideline on Saturday against the Vikings.
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury watches from the sideline on Saturday against the Vikings.

MINNEAPOLIS – It wasn’t Kyler Murray this time that received the penalty flag, but backup Brett Hundley – yet the Cardinals are as perplexed as ever to what constitutes a legal snap clap and what does not.

“I was really shocked,” said Hundley, who twice was flagged by referee Walt Anderson for a false start in Saturday’s 20-9 loss to the Vikings, after the Cardinals and the NFL had extensive discussions previously about what was legal and what was not. “I don’t know what to tell you. I know us and coach, we are all trying to figure this out, but …”

Hundley gave a wistful chuckle. “I’m confused. I’m just … I don’t know.”

Coach Kliff Kingsbury looked frustrated when the penalties occurred late in the first half. He said he didn’t get much of an explanation although “I really didn’t seek one.”

“I try not to let it bother me too much,” Kingsbury said. “I understand it’s new and everybody is working through it, and I think we’ll come to a logical place with it.”

Murray didn’t use the snap clap Saturday, using instead a leg lift for a silent count, a mechanism used throughout the NFL. But when Hundley went to the clap, things quickly changed. Hundley said he was told in part that his hands have to be in front of his body prior to the clap, but that it was difficult because “when you clap, your hands are naturally outside of you.”

“I’m confused, when other quarterbacks can yell ‘hut, hut hut…’ or even being able to clap without getting the ball,” Hundley said.

Kingsbury said the Cardinals will work with multiple kinds of cadences in terms of snapping the ball.

In a pool report, referee Walt Anderson said conversations between officials, the league and the Cardinals hopefully will help clear up the confusion.

"What we always look for are motions or actions that simulate the start of the play and I just felt like those two actions by the quarterback did just that -- they simulated the start of the play and the ball wasn't snapped, so we had a false start," Anderson said.

NO PATRICK PETERSON, SO BYRON MURPHY WORKS OUTSIDE

Life without Patrick Peterson started Saturday when the cornerback was not in uniform for the game, a prelude to his upcoming six-game suspension in the regular season. Peterson won’t play in a game until the Cards are in New York in mid-October.

Kingsbury said the decision to sit Peterson was “easy,” given the circumstances.

“He’s not playing for two months and we knew that and we wanted to see what we have in the other guys,” Kingsbury said. “It’s always tough when you have one of the best cornerbacks in the game sitting over there watching, but we had a good plan going into training camp and we stuck to it.”

Rookie Byron Murphy was the starting outside cornerback across from veteran Tramaine Brock, and that was the bulk of Murphy’s workload against the Vikings – although Murphy still played some nickel.

Kingsbury said Murphy competed well but he wanted to watch the video before evaluating Murphy’s play. Chris Jones is in line to be one of the top three cornerbacks, although Murphy’s day might mean Murphy will end up outside.

Murphy called the ability to work both places was “fun” and a great opportunity. Murphy played outside exclusively in college, but insisted he has no preference.

“I do not,” Murphy said. “Now that I have experienced nickel, I do not. Either one will work for me. Yes sir.”

ROTATING CENTERS EARLY AND OFTEN

Kingsbury was hoping to rotate his two starting center candidates – A.Q. Shipley and Mason Cole – and he did, literally putting a new one in during each possession the first-team offense was on the field.

“I just wanted to get both reps with the ones,” Kingsbury said. “We feel we have two guys who can start at center. It was good to get them both in.”

Kingsbury said he has yet to make a decision on the starter, although it would seem unlikely either Cole or Shipley will play the final preseason game in Denver.

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