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The Continued Education Of Kyler Murray

Rookie quarterback encountered an aggressive defensive game plan Sunday

QB Kyler Murray let some passes go too quickly against the Rams.
QB Kyler Murray let some passes go too quickly against the Rams.

The rookie lessons for Kyler Murray continued in Week 13, when Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips unveiled an aggressive game plan designed to take away the Cardinals' quick passing game.

The zone-heavy scheme worked, as Murray tied a season-high with nine incompletions on passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and couldn't get anything else going.

"They got up early, and they started sitting on stuff," Murray said. "It was tough offensively to get in a rhythm. Our quick game is a big part of our offense, and when they're up however much they're up, there's no reason to backpedal at that point. I get it. I understand it. We'll be better from it."

Murray has seen many different looks as a rookie. The Ravens blitzed him exotically in Week 2, and Murray was able to counter it, throwing for 349 yards at 8.7 yards per attempt.

The next two weeks, the Panthers and Seahawks played a soft zone to force underneath throws. Murray struggled a bit but learned from that and found a groove in ensuing games. Coach Kliff Kingsbury has been happy with Murray's ability to catch on quickly to defensive strategies.

"He does (adjust well)," Kingsbury said. "It has been a learning process the entire season."

The Cardinals were looking to counter the Rams' aggressive approach with some deep shots on Sunday, and Murray said he didn't do a good enough job of letting routes by wideout Christian Kirk develop.

"I was kind of just disgusted at the fact that the couple of the times that I did have time, he had chances to make big plays, and me being unsettled just didn't get to him," Murray said. "It's tough, but we just to have to move on and hope we get better."

Sunday was one of the rare times this season Murray looked a bit rattled in the pocket, but the upshot is that the young quarterback did not feel out of his depth against the defensive scheme. Murray said there weren't any looks he hadn't seen previously.

"I just think that when you get up early, and you just get to roam around the field and watch the quarterback – they were all over the ball," Murray said. "It was a good job by them."