What Kyler Murray Needs to Improve in 2024

Harry

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Now that it seems the decision has been made that Murray will be the QB in 2024, it’s worth noting some of what he has to improve to fully succeed. I specified 2024 because his contract is slightly more moveable in 2025. Still if he doesn’t show potential in these areas he might not be attractive enough to move anyway at his high cost. I said during the season that I thought he’d played well enough to have earned another year. 2024 is that year. Whether he is the Cards’ longterm, franchise QB is yet to be determined. All of these areas can be seen being executed in part by other current NFL QBs. Watching film and learning technique is critical. Murray’s ability isn’t in question, just his determination. Here’s the list of possible gains.

Movement in Pocket is weak because he has spent virtually his entire career in a shotgun set, he has not learned to effectively move in a pocket. Before the rebuttals, I know he’s played behind a Cardinal O-line that wasn’t stellar at establishing a pocket. Nonetheless he’s had one at times, but clearly struggled to take advantage of it. The first technique is sliding in the pocket to open a throwing lane. That’s the best way to avoid getting passes knocked down. Moving up in the pocket not only can open throwing lanes to the side, but it’s also frequently the area in which rushing lanes break down. With the shortest distance to a first down being up the middle, this could provide key opportunites for Murray. If you saw the Super Bowl the DEs made a point, for the most part, of preventing Mahomes from running up the field on the edges. However, he burnt them a couple of times running up the middle. It’s hard to control every rush lane.

Reading Defenses has enabled weaker teams, like Warner’s Cards, to win key games. It raises completion percentages, reduces turnovers and frustrates defenses. It also enables a QB to go through his progressions much more quickly. A major factor here is blitz recognition. There is so much defensive movement before the snap these days, it’s become more challenging to detect blitzes and more specifically from where the blitz will be coming. This means lots of film study to spot tendencies. Hot reads to slants and quick outs can defeat many blitzes and actually discourage them if properly executed. Getting the QB & receiver on the same page is also critical.

Using Progressions is closely related. Too often QBs let themselves get hurried into throwing their to their primary receiver, even when he’s covered. Failure to use this technique can frustrate receivers who work hard to get open only to be ignored by their QB, especially when he throws to a covered receiver. It also causes more interceptions and incompletions crushing drives.

Ball Placement has not been a Murray strength. This is why I stressed the importance of acquiring receivers strong on making contested catches. This function, when executed, protects the receiver. Good receivers are hard to replace and their loss can dramatically impact a team’s offense. Receivers need to trust QBs will not unnecessarily expose them. Hitting a receiver in stride can greatly increase YAC and extend drives.

Running is one of Murray’s greatest strong points. However, he’s not the physical specimen that Josh Allen is. So the Cards must decide how to ration Murray’s ability without blowing up the season due to injury. I have previously contended Murray is the top running QB in the league. I am referring to elusiveness, not durability. For his part Murray must understand he cannot take hits. He must go down & surrender. Still the Cards cannot be afraid to use him when it’s critical. He is a scoring weapon capable of driving defenseto distraction.

That said there are still numerous players in the NFL who would trade 15 yards for knocking a key player out of the game. I’d like to see rules similar to college where obvious targeting hits result in suspension. 4 of those hits in a season should take a player out for 17 games. Any coach caught offering a bounty should get a lifetime suspension. In the sixties I lived where I could see all the Bears’ games. Both Butkus and Sayers had their careers shorten by hits intended to injure. In fairness Butkus delivered some of those hits himself.

Overall I felt Murray showed improvement last season in all of these key areas. Continuing to improve these areas could make Murray the franchise QB the Cards desperately need. If everything goes nearly perfectly this offseason and Murray improves these areas, I’m crazy enough to think the Cards could contend for a playoff spot.
 

daves

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Great post Harry... I agree with almost everything, but this:
I have previously contended Murray is the top running QB in the league.
Murray is an exciting and dangerous runner, but Lamar Jackson has put up about 60% more rushing yards and 67% more rushing first downs per game than Murray, and doesn't go down nearly as easily.

Josh Allen is also WAY ahead of Murray in rushing first downs and TDs. And Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields are each statistically much more successful rushers than Murray.

So I'd put Murray in the top 5, but frankly FAR from #1.
 
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BullheadCardFan

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Reading Defenses has enabled weaker teams, like Warner’s Cards, to win key games. It raises completion percentages, reduces turnovers and frustrates defenses. It also enables a QB to go through his progressions much more quickly. A major factor here is blitz recognition. There is so much defensive movement before the snap these days, it’s become more challenging to detect blitzes and more specifically from where the blitz will be coming. This means lots of film study to spot tendencies. Hot reads to slants and quick outs can defeat many blitzes and actually discourage them if properly executed. Getting the QB & receiver on the same page is also critical.

Using Progressions is closely related. Too often QBs let themselves get hurried into throwing their to their primary receiver, even when he’s covered. Failure to use this technique can frustrate receivers who work hard to get open only to be ignored by their QB, especially when he throws to a covered receiver. It also causes more interceptions and incompletions crushing drives.
Reading defenses is the main thing he needs to improve

Glad you mentioned Warner who knew where every receiver was on every play before the snap

The talent is there, he just needs to continue to put it all together

We all liked his attitude and ability to come back from his injury

Now he needs to keep up the work to improve and the skys the limit with him
 

CardNots

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Reading defenses is the main thing he needs to improve

Glad you mentioned Warner who knew where every receiver was on every play before the snap

The talent is there, he just needs to continue to put it all together

We all liked his attitude and ability to come back from his injury

Now he needs to keep up the work to improve and the skys the limit with him
In defense of Kyler, which I rarely do, there were countless times when his receivers were not where Kyler expected them to be based on the defensive alignments.

Warner had experienced WRs not to mention smarts as well. Not sure he would have had much success with last year’s WR lot.
 

Krangodnzr

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Great post Harry... I agree with almost everything, but this:

Murray is an exciting and dangerous runner, but Lamar Jackson has put up about 60% more rushing yards and 67% more rushing first downs per game than Murray, and doesn't go down nearly as easily.

Josh Allen is also WAY ahead of Murray in rushing first downs and TDs. And Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields are each statistically much more successful rushers than Murray.

So I'd put Murray in the top 5, but frankly FAR from #1.
Eh the only guy on your list who can really throw the ball like Kyler is Allen.

I'd characterize Lamar as a good, but not great thrower. Hurts is a pretty average thrower. Fields is below average.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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Eh the only guy on your list who can really throw the ball like Kyler is Allen.

I'd characterize Lamar as a good, but not great thrower. Hurts is a pretty average thrower. Fields is below average.
He was just talking running.
 

football karma

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i am hopeful that time in a real NFL offense coached by real NFL coaches in the necessary things -- fundamentals, reads, etc -- will result in Kyler taking another step as a QB

i think its easy to assume that QBs are who they are by year 3 or 4 or 5. I think there can still be growth and improvement even after that
 

QuebecCard

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Reading defenses is the main thing he needs to improve

Glad you mentioned Warner who knew where every receiver was on every play before the snap

The talent is there, he just needs to continue to put it all together

We all liked his attitude and ability to come back from his injury

Now he needs to keep up the work to improve and the skys the limit with him

Yes, before the snap, they are on his side of the line. ;)

I'm a Warner fan, but people seem to have forgotten all of the interceptions because he threw to spots expecting the WR to be there. Over his career: 208 TDs - 128 Int.
 

BullheadCardFan

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Yes, before the snap, they are on his side of the line. ;)

I'm a Warner fan, but people seem to have forgotten all of the interceptions because he threw to spots expecting the WR to be there. Over his career: 208 TDs - 128 Int.
Warner took this under preforming franchise to the Super Bowl and along with Larry carried them on his back

I'll never forget the fight and desire he had when he played for us

He did throw to spots and many of his receivers ran the wrong routes which in turn along with his aggressive throws led to a lot of INTs
 

Bkbobo

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I recall Warner throwing a pass in the end zone that Bolden turned the wrong way and it was ran back for a TD. Probably would have won that superbowl, tear
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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I know, but throwing has an effect on running.
I don’t think getting your point. Are you saying bc a guy can throw he doesn’t have to run as much? Or are you arguing bc a guy can throw the defense can’t pin their ears back and play the qb run as aggressively? I see being a good passer as both benefitting and limiting the rushing qb.
 

Krangodnzr

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I don’t think getting your point. Are you saying bc a guy can throw he doesn’t have to run as much?
This.
Or are you arguing bc a guy can throw the defense can’t pin their ears back and play the qb run as aggressively? I see being a good passer as both benefitting and limiting the rushing qb.
LOL I think we agree.

Murray probably is a better runner than @daves is giving him credit. I think Fields and Lamar aren't as good passing, so they run more. Allen is just a crazy good specimen.
 
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Harry

Harry

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Yes, before the snap, they are on his side of the line. ;)

I'm a Warner fan, but people seem to have forgotten all of the interceptions because he threw to spots expecting the WR to be there. Over his career: 208 TDs - 128 Int.
He was definitely a gambler, especially when he was QBing the weaker team. His philosophy was to give his receiver a chance to make a play. Bolden & Fitz were a great pair to encourage that philosophy.
 

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I recall Warner throwing a pass in the end zone that Bolden turned the wrong way and it was ran back for a TD. Probably would have won that superbowl, tear
Maybe if we didnt play prevent defense

Maybe if Fitz didnt run into his own man on that pick-six
 

Dan H

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i am hopeful that time in a real NFL offense coached by real NFL coaches in the necessary things -- fundamentals, reads, etc -- will result in Kyler taking another step as a QB

i think its easy to assume that QBs are who they are by year 3 or 4 or 5. I think there can still be growth and improvement even after that
Brees took a huge step forward after six years.

I know he changed teams, but his stats after are impressive.
 
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