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Cardinals’ Kyler Murray can’t mix rushing, throwing well enough to win – Arizona Cardinals Blog

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — History has a weird way of repeating itself.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray had the chance Sunday to become the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in his first three games, bettering the record Cam Newton set in 2011. Instead, playing against Newton’s team, Murray followed Newton’s path, throwing for 173 yards eight years after Newton threw for 158 in his third NFL game.

Unlike Newton, who won his third game for his first NFL win, Murray lost to the Carolina Panthers 38-20, displaying a mix of dynamic savviness and a rookie’s inexperience.

After an impressive first drive, when Murray mixed in runs and plays with his feet with a variety of different passes, Murray struggled with making sound decisions, often holding on to the ball too long — which resulted in eight sacks — or making ill-advised throws. He threw two interceptions and two touchdowns to go along with 173 yards on 30-for-43 passing. He also ran for a team-high 69 yards, making defenders miss with his feet.

But it wasn’t enough. Murray didn’t mix his passing and running well enough to keep the ball moving down the field.

Describe the game in two words: “Dink” and “dunk.” While the Cardinals’ offense looked as good as it has all season on Sunday, Arizona didn’t take many shots downfield. Seven of Murray’s 43 attempts were longer than 10 yards and just one was a completion. Otherwise, Arizona used short passes to move the ball down the field. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a major part of Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, but when the Cardinals needed a big play, the downfield pass wasn’t effective.

Troubling trend: David Johnson continued to be quiet Sunday against Carolina, rushing for just 37 yards. He has yet to hit 100 yards this season with totals of 82 in Week 1 and 13 in Week 2. Johnson has struggled to break the big runs and hasn’t often shown the jump cut that was once a valuable weapon for him. His inability to get going has cost the Cardinals the option of relying on him to be a major focal point of the offense, instead turning to Murray to run the ball.

Biggest hole in the game plan: Defending tight ends. The Cardinals’ trouble defending against tight ends continued Sunday and it contributed to Arizona losing to a formerly 0-2 team. Panthers tight end Greg Olsen finished with 75 yards and two touchdowns, continuing a trend of tight ends torching the Cardinals’ defense. It was Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson in Week 1 with 131 yards and a touchdown on six catches and Baltimore’s Mark Andrews in Week 2 with eight catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Bold prediction for next week: Kingsbury will continue to learn from his mistakes as a playcaller and fix them. After 36 of Murray’s 43 attempts were thrown 10 yards or less against the Panthers, Kingsbury will stretch the field more to get Arizona’s offense kick-started when it starts to slow down and get receivers such as Damiere Byrd more involved.

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Tim Jernigan says deal with Texans off, still free agent

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HOUSTON — Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan will not be signing with the Houston Texans after agreeing to a deal in principle with the team earlier in the offseason, he announced on Instagram.

“Guess I’m not goin to Houston..but the show not ova,” he wrote.

On April 1, Jernigan’s agent said the defensive tackle and the Texans had agreed to a one-year contract worth up to $3.75 million with $1.25 million guaranteed.

The Texans had a need at defensive tackle after losing D.J. Reader, who agreed to a four-year, $53 million free-agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in March.

Houston did add depth to the defensive line in the draft, selecting defensive tackle Ross Blacklock in the second round.

Jernigan was acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens in 2017. He was limited to 10 games in 2019 due to a foot injury.



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Broncos coach Vic Fangio says racism, discrimination aren’t prevalent in NFL

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio called George Floyd’s death a “societal issue that we all have to join in to correct,” but said he doesn’t see discrimination or racism as problems overall in the NFL.

“I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal, we’re a league of meritocracy, you earn what you get, you get what you earn, I don’t see racism at all in the NFL, I don’t see discrimination in the NFL,” Fangio told reporters Tuesday, when asked about his experiences in the league over the last four decades. “… we all live together, joined as one, for one common goal, and we all intermingle and mix tremendously. If society reflected an NFL team, we’d all be great.”

Floyd, who was black, died last week in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Fangio opened Tuesday’s call by saying he was outraged over what happened.

“I was shocked, sad and angry when I saw what the policeman do to a handcuffed George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death,” Fangio said. “He should be punished to the full extent of the law of the crimes he was charged with in addition to being charged with treason for failing to uphold the badge and uniform he was entrusted with … It’s a societal issue that we all have to join in to correct.”

Fangio has publicly supported the Rooney Rule in the past, which is designed to try to help increase the number of minority candidates interviewed for head coaching jobs and the league is trying to expand the rule’s scope, but his “no racism” comments Tuesday brought some reaction on social media. Some of it included Colin Kaepernick having remained unsigned since protesting in 2016 about the use of force by police.

During the 16-minute session Fangio said he has encouraged his players to protest, and singled out Broncos safety Justin Simmons’ efforts in recent day in Simmons’ hometown of Stuart, Fla.

“I thought it was great, Justin is a great person, a great leader, got his head screwed on correctly, he sees the problems and how they need to be solved,” Fangio said. “He’s searching for solutions and it’s easy for everybody to identify the problems … we need to search for solutions and I think Justin is one of those guys who will find solutions.”

Broncos CEO Joe Ellis had a virtual meeting with the players and coaches Tuesday about what the team could do, and what the players wanted to do, in moving forward in social justice initiatives. Fangio said he would speak to the players about the same topics on Thursday.

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NFL says camps only at team facilities due to coronavirus

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The NFL has decide that teams must hold training camps this summer at their main practice facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.

The NFL plans to announce that plan, along with a tentative start to camps in late July.

Among teams that would have held camp away from their home facility this year are the Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Panthers have prepared for every season since their first in 1995 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, citing sources, first reported this new development.

The league announced in mid-May that teams could begin re-opening their facilities on a limited basis when state and local governments allowed it.

The next phase of re-opening began on Monday with clubs allowed to re-open ticket offices, retail shops and other customer-facing facilities, as long as the openings fully comply with state and local regulations.

Currently, no coaches are allowed in team facilities, although that could change in the near future.

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