For those of us who thought we’d see Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray lining up under center for most of his snaps, we were wrong. Murray lined up in the shotgun formation for all but nine snaps, per Darren Urban of AZCardinalsDotCom.
Given Murray’s 5’10 stature, he’s not a quarterback who will thrive under center. Still, he’s also showing us he’s capable of running an NFL-caliber offense instead of the collegiate system he was forced to run under former coach Kliff Kingsbury. To that degree, he is lining up under center. But why only nine plays in the formation?
For one, Murray is used to lining up in the shotgun formation while under center is something that is still a foreign concept. Therefore, Cardinals offensive coordinator Drew Petzing needs to ease him into it with time. That number will increase as Murray grows more used to running the offense, but he will still line up in the shotgun often.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback won’t line up under center most of the time
We know Murray can put up Pro Bowl-caliber numbers from the shotgun, so it makes zero sense for Petzing to do what Kliff did and force Murray into doing something that doesn’t match his attributes like taking most of his snaps under center. Kliff tried to make Murray into an “Air Raid” type of quarterback, despite Murray averaging just 26.9 passing attempts per game at Oklahoma in 2018.
Sure, the offense Murray ran in college was technically an “Air Raid” under Lincoln Riley, but his dual-threat skills were highlighted, considering his 140 rushing attempts and 1,001 yards on the ground. Instead, Petzing will continue to highlight Murray’s strengths, which include lining up in the shotgun, moving around in the pocket, designed runs, etc.
So don’t be surprised when Murray takes at least half of his snaps from the shotgun (or perhaps even the pistol) while just a handful will come under center. We won’t see the same college-like offense Kliff thought he could use in the NFL, but we will see one tailor-made for the Arizona Cardinals quarterback.
Source: You've Got Mail: Texans Week by Darren Urban, AZCardinals.com
(Statistics provided by College-Football-Reference)