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Without On-Field Work, Kyler Murray Can Still Take "Big Step"

It's one of those clichés that lives around the NFL -- there is no more important offseason for a player than the one that bridges a guy's rookie season to his second year. The reason: As a rookie, your head is swimming trying to learn the pro game, in an offseason cluttered with prepping for the draft, worrying about your next step, the draft itself and then trying to adjust to your first post-college job.

The next offseason, you have none of that, plus the understanding -- after a year in the league -- what is expected and what parts of the game one needs to improve.

There is little question there are Cardinals that will be impacted -- and probably not positively -- if the offseason on-field work is lost. Andy Isabella. Hakeem Butler. Byron Murphy. Essentially, that entire rookie class. But what about the guy at the top of that class?

Kyler Murray played his entire rookie season, and his improvements were easy to see for anyone watching every game. Big things are expected of him in Year 2, although that was with the thought Kliff Kingsbury was going to have him for a few weeks on the field in May and June showing him tweaks to the offense and Murray's game that would aid in that development. If Murray can't get that field time, what then?

"We'd love to have him back and be more hands-on for a couple months prior to giving him a break and training camp," Kingsbury acknowledged. "But everybody is facing the same challenges. I know Kyler is working hard, he's champing at the bit to get back. He has the film to watch, he has the stuff to study, he knows what we have to get better at.

"I expect him to take a big step, just understanding the game more in the NFL and the type of preparation he needs to have. We'd love to have him back (in the offseason). Do I think it's going to stunt his growth? I don't think so. I think he's figured out what he has to do and I think he's going to take a big step."

QB Kyler Murray throws a pass in a home game against 49ers in 2019