Arizona Cardinals laud QB Kyler Murray's mobility: 'He adds a different dynamic to this offense'

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals second-year coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn't enjoy watching his star quarterback, Kyler Murray, tuck the football and take off toward a hole in the offensive line, regardless if there are either swaths of grass or paydirt in front of him.

When Murray takes off, which has been happening more often in the first two games of this season than the first two of last season, Kingsbury is usually standing on the sideline muttering the same phrase over and over: "Get down."

Sometimes Murray will -- either on his own, with a picture-perfect baseball slide, or with the help of a defender seething to get their hands on the reigning rookie of the year.

Other times, Murray won't, just weaving, cutting and juking his way to the end zone.

It's not until the day after the game that Kingsbury will sit in his office at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, turn on the film and soak in what unfolded in front of him the day before. Regardless of how many times Kingsbury has seen Murray take off and do his thing with his feet, he's never surprised.

"I've watched that since he was 15 years old," Kingsbury said. "He is one of the most dangerous people probably in the league when he's in the open field like that, and he is as elusive as anybody, and that's a weapon. He's just got to be able to protect himself, which he does a good job of."

Murray's running hasn't just been the so-called X factor for Arizona, now 2-0 to open the season. It has been the evening factor, and then some.

The Cardinals' offense, despite putting up 54 points the first two weeks of the season, has yet to be or look perfect. There were plays in Sunday's 30-15 win over the Washington Football Team that wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins wished he and the rest of the offense had back. There were penalties that called back touchdowns or pushed the Cardinals back out of easy scoring range. And that's to be expected, Hopkins said, considering there weren't organized team activities, minicamps or preseason. Just training camp to get new players to jell into a new system.

As Kingsbury put it, "I just feel like we have not hit our stride yet."

But that's where Murray has factored in.

He has run for three touchdowns this season, half of Arizona's overall season total. And he's not just the team's leading rusher, he accounts for 46.4% of its rushing yards.

"He adds a different dynamic to this offense where he can go and score from 20, 30 yards out," Hopkins said. "It's something that is hard for defenders to be able to attack when you have a quarterback like that that is looking to score and not just getting first downs.

"And, also, when he's running, he's looking to throw. As you seen today, the touchdowns that he had, obviously, it was defenders right there in front of him and he made a move or two, and went in for a touchdown."

But Murray's play hasn't been crystal clean either, according to his coach.

Kingsbury described Murray's play the past two weeks as "a work in progress."

"I think you can see we're not as sharp as we'd like to be," Kingsbury said. "But he has so much talent that he can still make some incredible plays. And we're just gonna keep working at it and hopefully take another step next week and go from there. So, he's a spectacular talent. We all know that.

"I think when we really get it clicking and get in a rhythm that we can get rolling pretty good. So, we'll hopefully take another step next week and that'll continue."

Throughout the offseason, Murray talked about developing a better understanding of how defenses work, his own field awareness as well as his teammate's.

What Murray is doing -- running for 158 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries -- is a product of that.

"And then, when my number's called or I'm able to break the pocket it's more comfortable for me to make something happen," Murray said. "If I have to slide, I gotta slide. But if I know I can get more yards, then that's what I'm trying to do."

While the rest of the offense figures itself out, Murray will be there to do his part in helping the offense as an entirety be a force.

Murray's ability to run -- and not just run but score points with his feet -- has been the deciding factor for an offense that features a future first-ballot Hall of Famer in Larry Fitzgerald and possibly the best receiver in all of football in Hopkins.

"I think it does a lot," Murray said of his ability to run. "It's an extension of the run game, or really our offense, in general. When I can break the pocket or pull a read and score, that's the dynamic that we have in this offense because I'm able to move.

"It's a blessing to be able to move fast."