Distributing wealth is not always as easy as it seems. Especially in the NFL, when you have a dynamic young quarterback and playmaker and a bunch of capable and capable passing targets – any of them could have a huge day against any of them. given team in a given week.
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has admitted this could become one of the club’s biggest challenges in 2021.
But it wasn’t. Not yet, at least. Have you watched?
In the first three weeks of the season, Kyler Murray managed assists to at least seven different players and six of them were targeted 11-18 times. Arizona’s No.1 and 2 wideners DeAndre Hopkins and AJ Green were the most targeted with 18 shots each. Christian Kirk is second with 17 targets and rookie Rondale Moore third at 15. Running back Chase Edmonds, meanwhile, was also targeted 17 times and tight end Maxx Williams received 11 assists.
Talk about equal distribution.
“I think this is definitely an area where we have evolved the most in attack and obviously it starts with Kyler,” said Kirk, who leads the Cardinals with 239 yards on 15 receptions. âHe did a great job just being able to find us and everyone. There wasn’t just a special focus on one or two guys at the start of the week.
“Every week when we set up the installation, we know that we all have the opportunity to play games, otherwise fat rooms. There are always a few pieces in there so we can all make that spark and Kyler did a great job finding us all. It’s great and it makes it even harder for a defense to prepare for us and be able to cover this.
Next come divisional rival Rams (3-0), whom the Cardinals (3-0) will meet on Sunday at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles. He will be Arizona’s toughest opponent to date on both sides of the ball and it will take extraordinary effort if there is any chance for the Cardinals to go undefeated.
The Rams, remember, beat the Cardinals eight in a row and beat them 251-91.
âThey were better than us. I mean, they’re just better than us, âMurray said Wednesday. “We got our ass kicked every time we played them pretty much.”
This year, however, the Cardinals’ passing attack isn’t just a two-man air show with Murray and Hopkins. Everyone gets in on the action and not only contributes but great game after great game.
Kirk suggests that much of the reason for this success stems from practice and visitation sessions. Receivers, he said, always have a good idea of ââwhere Murray is going with the football and later in the week Murray makes sure to do plenty of checking until his last read . It helps keep everyone on their toes.
It’s âmaking everyone feel like you can have the ball,â Kirk said, adding, âIt’s not that you are running a route just to open up another guy or just lift the blanket. Everyone knows, ‘I have a chance on this’ and we’ve seen it so many times.
Murray, who sits third in passing yards (1,005) and completion percentage (76.5), doesn’t think the ability to get everyone involved is a big secret.
âHonestly, I think he just goes to the right place with the ball every time, at least when trying,â he said. ââ¦ At this point in the season, I feel like I’ve been pretty good at my readings and progresses, getting over them and delivering the ball. I think that’s why we see everyone gets it.
âIt’s not like last year where D-Hop might have had all the keys and we were trying to get the ball to everyone. This year, like I said earlier before the season, we have a lot of guns and a game, one guy can eat and another can’t. It’s part of embracing what we’re trying to do as a team and just loving each of the guys in the reception hall and not being selfish and being happy for whoever shines on this day- the.
It worked so well that the Cardinals have the league’s second offense (432.3 yards per game), third passing offense (322.3) and they are tied with the Buccaneers for the most scoring team. of the NFL (34.3 points per game).
Regarding the even distribution of assists to receivers, Kingsbury said: âYeah, I think sometimes it goes that way and sometimes like you saw last year a guy gets hot and catches a pile of bullets. From my perspective as a game referee, it’s harder to defend when it’s distributed more evenly. “
Kingsbury came under fire after Arizona’s Week 2 win over Minnesota when Hopkins caught four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals’ second possession of the game, but was never shot again. .
âHe’s one of the best receivers ever,â Kingsbury said after the game. âI have to give him the ball and I left this game thinking that and I have to be better. They’re going to send him two guys and the team is going to do that and we have to have an answer.
Hopkins was slowed down by a rib injury last Sunday and caught just three passes for 21 yards in the Cardinals’ 31-19 win over the Jaguars. He’s feeling better this week, however, and once again thought of pulling double coverage from the Rams.
âThe teams pay a lot of attention to him and that gives these other guys the days they’ve had,â Kingsbury said. âBut we have to keep giving him the ball and we will work on it this week. I was impressed with how he endured the week. I know he didn’t feel perfect, that’s for sure, but he fought.
Hopkins leads the Cardinals with three touchdown receptions. Kirk is second with two and Green and Moore have one each. Edmonds leads the team with 16 receptions and Williams is having the best start of his career with 10 catches for 113 yards.
They’ve all been happy campers and that’s exactly what Murray likes to see as the guy throwing the ball at them.
“Yes, for me personally I would like to see everyone smile after the game,” he said. âI know what it is. I understand that you put in a lot of work, individually, and want to have a lot of numbers at the end of Sunday, but sometimes it doesn’t turn out that way.
âI think most of the time, right now, everyone has the ball. They all know it. There is no favoritism or anything like that. Whoever is open, he gets the ball, so it’s been pretty good so far and hopefully we will continue like this.
Got an opinion on the Arizona Cardinals? Contact McManaman at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac. Listen to it live on Fox Sports 910-AM every Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. on Calling All Sports with Roc and Manuch.
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