He may not have been in uniform on Friday night but the Arizona Cardinals quarterback Keeler Murray He was still able to put into practice what he had done in the weeks leading up to his first pre-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Murray helped call up offensive plays during the fourth quarter of the Cardinals’ 36-23 win over the Bengals along with co-playing coordinator and quarterback Cam Turner. Murray was on a headset relaying plays to the quarterback Garrett Gurantanowho played the entire second half.
Murray was responsible for two real series and then two games on his knees to close out the match, which coach Cliff Kingsbury said after the game was not Murray’s preferred choice to play. Arizona has gone three times in each of Murray’s two series — “the last thing I expected,” Kingsbury said — fought three passes and two straight runs.
Guarantano was also sacked from the play. The Cardinals gained 15 yards in total on those plays.
“He called in two really great plays,” Kingsbury said. “It didn’t work out. If only some of the players had been open. He did a good job. I was impressed.”
Kingsbury Murray didn’t mention any benchmarks on Friday night. However, Murray wanted to throw the ball when Arizona got it back with 1:14 in the game, but Kingsbury put the kibosh on that.
“It won’t happen,” he criticized Kingsbury.
Kingsbury took off his headset during the fourth quarter, not wanting to add more pressure to Murray. Delegating a responsibility such as playcalling was a comfort to Kingsbury.
He said, “I loved it.” “I think the managing director role suits me kind of. I might find out one of these days. I’ll be able to sleep a little longer.
“Yeah, it’s just fun being able to watch the total macro perspective and take all of that into account and not always get caught up in game calls and things like that.”
Murray, who has not exercised since August 5 due to a sore wrist and then COVID-19, called for plays while training. He started calling them through a handheld microphone and walked out to the headset. Kingsbury didn’t want to commit to Murray to call up more plays throughout the season, saying, “We’ll see,” but he does want to keep the quarterback involved in some way.
Earlier in the game, Murray found a different way to get involved. The cameras saw him distributing water to his teammates. Whatever the role on Friday night, Murray was embracing it.
“He did a good job,” Kingsbury said. “He loves doing it, gets excited when good things happen and is a tough coach when bad things happen.”
ESPN’s Ben Beebe contributed to this story.