The Arizona Cardinals have gone from nearly grabbing the NFC West Division lead to fighting for their playoff lives in a span of a couple weeks.
After missed opportunities in Foxborough and being outplayed at home by the Rams, the Cardinals have now lost four of their last five games, and if it wasn’t for a ‘Haily Murray’ against Buffalo, they would be on a five-game skid.
With the recent struggles, the question is out. Has the rest of the league figured out Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray? Football Morning in America’s Peter King gave an answer and addressed that question recently on the Brad Cesmat Show.
“I don’t really think so. I think the biggest issue right now, and this is going to sound a little cop out-ish, but look at the recent foes of the Arizona Cardinals. If you go back to mid-season, they had a three-game road trip (Carolina, New York, Dallas) and had a soft early schedule as it turned out,” King said. “Ever since then, there’s Seattle twice, Miami, Buffalo, and a road trip to New England.”
Furthermore, King attributed some of Murray’s struggles to a learning stage in his early development as a franchise quarterback.
“Kyler Murray is at the point where I don’t think it has anything to do with his size, his height, or anything like that,” King said. “You don’t see him making a massive amount of mistakes. You see him making not everything out of plays that he could probably make. I think that is a byproduct of being a young player in a league where every team in the league goes to school on you…Kyler Murray over the previous month was the third most accurate quarterback in football. Look at Josh Allen on Monday night. He probably played the best game of his NFL life. Why does he do that? Because I think he is better mechanically now than he was. But also, it’s experience. I don’t think you can rush it…I wouldn’t hop off the Kyler Murray bandwagon just yet.”
This weekend, the Cardinals fly across the country for a matchup with the streaking New York Giants. After a slow start, the Giants now sit atop an underperforming NFC East at 5-7. They’ve won their last four games, including an impressive win at Seattle with backup quarterback Colt McCoy.
King addressed how a key to success for the Giants upset against the Seahawks was to contain Russell Wilson. The defensive front made it a point of emphasis that they’d rather create a “spider web” around him rather than chasing after him for a sack because of Wilson’s ability to get out of the pocket.
With the Giants facing another mobile quarterback in Murray, the recipe could be used again. King discussed some of the other strengths of New York’s defense that has seen a lot of solid progress.
“If you look at the Giants, their last seven games…They are getting a lot better as the season goes and responding to Patrick Graham, their defensive coordinator who is a really bright guy,” King said. “Logan Ryan calls him the Picasso of defense. He went to Yale and he’s a really bright guy. I think what is really interesting about the Giants defense is they aren’t quite as hurt as San Francisco is, but they are really banged up. They’ve got two seventh-round picks on defense….You probably aren’t going to recognize many names on that defense on Sunday. You can eek out a 19-16 win and say, ‘Man, that was ugly.’ But that’s the way the Giants are right now.”