Connect with us


Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson: Pass-first dual-threat QBs – Arizona Cardinals Blog



TEMPE, Ariz. — Even though Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson don’t know each other personally, they know what the other has endured as a big-armed quarterback who can run the ball.

Chatter always seems to center around the latter, but it’s the former that’s landed them in the NFL.

“I know he got a lot of scrutiny [from] people thinking he couldn’t throw,” said Arizona Cardinals rookie Murray of his Baltimore Ravens counterpart Jackson. “Then he goes out there and proves it, so people say things about everybody.”

When Murray and Jackson stand on opposite sidelines of M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, Fox), they’ll be representing the evolution of the dual-threat quarterback. They’re not running quarterbacks. They’re quarterbacks who can run. The distinction is important.

“As a quarterback, when you run, that sometimes gets overhyped and your throwing gets shadowed a little bit,” said Cardinals backup quarterback Brett Hundley, a five-year veteran who ran often in high school and college. “Then you don’t realize how good he’s throwing the ball because you’re seeing him running the ball, where most quarterbacks throw it away or throw the checkdown or something like that.

“We just take off and run. So, it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s a runner.’ But, instead, it’s just we’re doing different things when nothing’s open so I think that’s the biggest difference.”

Hundley would know — he’s backed up the likes of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and Russell Wilson in Seattle before supporting Murray in Arizona. He considers all three to be quarterbacks who can run, not the other way around.

So why the labels on Jackson and Murray? Jackson had back-to-back 3,000-yard-passing/1,500-yard-rushing seasons at Louisville, earning him a Heisman Trophy. Murray closed out his collegiate career at Oklahoma with a 4,000-yard-passing/1,000-yard-rushing season that earned him a Heisman. Having success as a runner in college starts the stigma. Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Donovan McNabb and Randall Cunningham, among others, were typecast when they arrived in the NFL.

“It’s gone on forever, that’s always been the thought,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “If somebody comes along that proves that wrong, then a lot of people are wrong and people don’t like being wrong. I think that’s where that stands currently.”

Murray and Jackson shined with their arms in Week 1. Jackson threw for 324 yards and five touchdowns. Murray for 308, two touchdowns and an interception. Neither ran a lot — three times each — as Murray gained 13 yards and Jackson six.

After his breakout game on Sunday — a 59-10 blowout of the Miami Dolphins — Jackson quipped to reporters that it was “not bad for a running back,” a clear shot at his critics who thought he wouldn’t make it as a quarterback in the NFL.

“The way he said it was really great,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He was very humble. He kind of said it with a laugh with his eyes kind of down but it’s probably some point he wanted to make for all those out there that want to categorize people in certain ways.”

All those labels have been disappointing to Harbaugh but Jackson has enjoyed the stir created by his comment — one rooted in proving people wrong.

“You could say that,” Jackson said.

Murray knows the feeling. He heard the whispers when he transferred from Texas A&M to Oklahoma after his freshman season in 2015. The rap on him back then was that he was a short quarterback who couldn’t throw.

“Bad combination,” he said wryly.

Murray “for sure” felt like he had to prove himself, which he did last season at Oklahoma when he threw for 4,361 yards while running for 1,001. He won the Heisman and was the first pick in April’s draft.

His rushing total fueled the chatter pre-draft that he was a running quarterback. Last Sunday began to put that notion to rest and every Sunday to come can reinforce it.

“The biggest thing is understanding that we can throw the damn ball, too,” Hundley said. “Now you see a lot of quarterbacks coming through the pipeline that are both runners and passers.”

Neither Murray nor Jackson will shy away from having the ability to make plays with their feet. And neither will shy away from using them.

“The ability to run is definitely changing the game,” Murray said.

It’s a weapon that can be tough for defenses to scheme against, Harbaugh said.

Cardinals rookie defensive lineman Zach Allen saw that first-hand when he played at Boston College against Jackson at Louisville. The Eagles schemed to prevent Jackson from running during Allen’s junior season. It didn’t matter. Jackson scored two touchdowns on 73 yards rushing while throwing for 354 yards and a touchdown.

“They’re both fast,” Allen said of Jackson and Murray, who he’s faced since rookie minicamp. He called both “elite” passers but said their running skills force defenders to think twice.

“You really have to be on point and focus every play because they can do it in any way,” Allen said. “It just makes our job harder, but also it’s a challenge and it’s a lot of fun. Do you make a conscious effort not to overcommit against guys like that?

“They can run by anybody.”

Still, running as a quarterback in the NFL is a risk. Too much is at stake for any given franchise, especially when quarterbacks are receiving megacontracts. But, not surprisingly, it’s the quarterbacks who think it’s sustainable to run.

Kingsbury? Not so much.

“It isn’t until somebody proves that it is,” he said.

The key, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said, is to be smart.

“It’s getting down, understanding when to get out of bounds, not taking unnecessary hits, especially when you have the football in your hands,” Wilson said.

“It’s one thing to … sit in the pocket and you got to get hit or whatever. That may happen. Those things are going to happen, for sure. But it’s another thing to run. You don’t want to get smacked when you’re running down the field. I think just having the intelligence and understanding when to get down, how to slide, all those things is critical.”

Murray doesn’t like getting hit. Once he gets his yards, he’s planning on getting down.

But there’s a difference between Murray and some other quarterbacks. He doesn’t run unnecessarily, said Cardinals quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. That’s why Clements doesn’t think Murray is similar to Michael Vick, a popular comparison. Clements believes Vick was more keen on running earlier in his career before developing into a better passer.

The better comparison for Murray, Clements said, is Chiefs quarterback and former Kingsbury recruit Patrick Mahomes.

“They’re gonna sit in the pocket and look to throw,” Clements said. “Then, if it breaks down and they have to create something, they can do it.”

Murray wants to “play this game for a long time.” To do that, though, he needs to stay healthy. To stay healthy, he needs to be smart. And it helps that he’s fleet of foot.

“Guys are a lot bigger in the NFL than they were in college, faster and stronger,” he said. “At the same time, I’m fast so I can get away.”

That’s one way to make running work in his favor. But that doesn’t always work, Griffin III said.

“Guys are getting hurt as much outside the pocket as they are inside the pocket,” he said. “Guys are getting demolished inside the pocket. You see those injuries happen a lot. There is no way to really avoid that. But if you’re a guy who is mobile, you have to use that ability.”

Quarterbacks who can run aren’t new to football, Harbaugh said, but they may be faster and more athletic. And they may be able to throw better now, limiting their need to run.

Murray and Jackson are examples of both.

“We’re throwers first,” Hundley said. “We play quarterback. But since we run a lot, we get stigmatized as runners and so sitting back in the pocket and not getting hit, I’m fine with that.”

ESPN NFL reporters Jamison Hensley and Brady Henderson contributed.

Source link


Source — Chiefs get ‘best-case scenario’ on MRI results for Patrick Mahomes



The Kansas City Chiefs received a “best-case scenario” for quarterback Patrick Mahomes after an MRI showed no damage other than a dislocated right kneecap, an NFL source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday.

Mahomes suffered a right patellar dislocation during the second quarter of Thursday night’s 30-6 road win over the Denver Broncos, sources told ESPN. Prior to the MRI, the team believed Mahomes would miss at least three games, sources said.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid on Friday said he didn’t have results of the MRI, but a source told Schefter that the results of the MRI were “good.”

Reid said the evaluation of Mahomes was ongoing.

“I just know what I know: The kid had the MRI, and we don’t have all the information,” Reid said. “That is what I can give you. I am trying to tell you what is real. Once I get all the information, we will give you everything that kind of happened and what’s going on here … the whole deal. We don’t hide that.”

The NFL’s reigning MVP was injured during a quarterback sneak on fourth down with just over nine minutes remaining in the first half. As medical staff attended to him on the field, it appeared Mahomes’ knee was straightened and popped back into place.

A cart came onto the field, apparently to take Mahomes for treatment. He was instead helped off the field by a couple of trainers. Players from both teams came by to offer encouragement.

Mahomes, 24, soon left for the locker room, walking under his own power but with a limp.

Chiefs players understood the severity of Mahomes’ injury after his kneecap popped out of place.

“He was saying, ‘It’s out, it’s out,'” guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif said. “Nobody really understood what he meant at that time, and then we saw it. … That’s when we started panicking. Not panicking, but seeing that he was not all right.”

Duvernay-Tardif, a medical school graduate, said he didn’t need any particular knowledge to immediately realize the seriousness of Mahomes’ injury.

“Everybody could have known something was wrong,” Duvernay-Tardif said.

Veteran Matt Moore, who joined the Chiefs (5-2) late in the preseason after backup Chad Henne broke his right ankle, replaced Mahomes. He threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill and completed 10 of 19 passes for 117 yards.

“He is a pro and has done a nice job,” Reid said Friday of Moore. “Hard to be a relief pitcher. He has done it before. There’s a certain way to prep for that. He understands that. It paid off for him.

“The best part is we didn’t have to change up a lot of things. Hard thing to do is if one backup comes in and you have to change the whole offense. We didn’t have to do that for him.”

The Chiefs next play the visiting Green Bay Packers on Oct. 27.

“[The NFL] doesn’t slow down for anyone or anything,” said Reid, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles to the NFC Championship Game in 2002 after losing starting quarterback Donovan McNabb for six games late in the season. “The NFL keeps rolling, will still have games. If you are in the league and you are a player, you are expected to step up and play.

“… There’s no looking back. Everything is looking forward in this league. Very seldom can you look back, and those that do are normally out of the league. When you are in it, you are only as good as your next game.”

Source link

Continue Reading


Ravens CB Marcus Peters surprised by trade from Rams



Cornerback Marcus Peters said he was surprised by Tuesday’s trade from the Los Angeles Rams to the Baltimore Ravens but left “with his head held high.”

“Right before I left, I just went up there and just told you everybody, ‘Hey, thank you.’ You feel me?,” Peters said after Friday’s practice. “I know there were some things that were questionable when I first got left from KC to get there. And I just told them, ‘Thank you for just believing and trusting in me in the locker room to just be myself.'”

Peters added, “I told them, ‘I’ll see you guys in a couple weeks.'”

The Ravens play at the Rams on Monday Night Football on Nov. 25. On Tuesday, the Ravens acquired Peters by sending a 2020 fifth-round pick and reserve linebacker Kenny Young to the Rams.

Baltimore needed a playmaking cornerback like Peters because Jimmy Smith (knee) is expected to miss his sixth straight game and Tavon Young (neck) is out for the season. Peters has had two practices with the Ravens and has been cramming to learn the playbook.

How much will Peters play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks?

“He’s ready to go. He’s going to play,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’ll probably play a lot. He looks good. We’re going out there with all our best weapons. We’re not holding anything back, try to win the game.”

Peters said it’s helped him that he’s already played the Seahawks this season and he’s played in a similar system when he played for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Asked how his comfort level will be on Sunday, Peters said, “I’m going to be Marcus Peters 24/7. We ain’t going to end until I’m gone. That’s how my mom and my dad raised me to be. I stand tall, and I handle my business. So you can’t faze me.”

Peters, 26, has led the NFL with 24 interceptions since entering the NFL in 2015 as the No. 18 overall pick. The Ravens were very interested in Peters in that draft and brought him in for a visit. Harbaugh even called Peters a few picks before he was selected by the Chiefs.

“I remember my visit like it was yesterday coming here,” Peters said. “Just my whole draft process. This is one of the places that liked me a lot.”

Peters, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, sidestepped a question about how much he wants to play in Baltimore beyond this season.

“My biggest thing, I’ve been traded twice now,” Peters said. “My biggest thing is just for me to keep doing what I can do and control what I can control. Just be grateful for the opportunity to play football. Who knows what 26-year-old Marcus Peters would be doing in Oakland, California, right now? I’m doing something that I love to do right now, I’m passionate about it, and I’m able to take care of my family doing it. So I’m just going to keep doing what I need to do.”

Source link

Continue Reading


Giants get Saquon Barkley back for Sunday



The New York Giants got two offensive weapons back for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, as running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram were both cleared to play.

Barkley has missed three games with a high ankle sprain and the running game has slowed without him. He had rushed for 237 yards with a 6.4-yard average and a touchdown in the Giants’ first 2½ games.

The Pro Bowler was injured during a Sept. 22 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when his right ankle bent awkwardly while he was tackled by safety Mike Edwards.

Barkley, who still leads the team in rushing, hasn’t felt or noticed anything wrong with the ankle while handling an increased workload this week.

More than anything, Barkley said, he missed playing. Sources indicated he wanted to return last Thursday against the New England Patriots but didn’t receive medical clearance.

Engram, who missed the loss to the Patriots because of a knee injury, practiced fully this week

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard has been ruled out for Sunday’s game with concussion for the second straight week.

Running back Wayne Gallman and defensive tackle Olsen Pierre practiced fully Friday. They are in the concussion protocol and must meet with an independent neurological consultant to receive final clearance to play. Gallman was injured against Minnesota on Oct. 6 and Pierre was injured four days later against New England.

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link

Continue Reading