As the media pours over Kyler Murray’s new contract wondering what exactly has caused this new ‘independent study’ clause the real reason may be much less sinister, and much more exciting for Cardinals fans.
After late season swoons in the last two years, Cards HC Kliff Kingsbury has a lot to address this offseason. Not least of which was a new contract extension for his shiny franchise QB. You can argue all you want about whether Murray is a franchise QB (trust me there’s a deep dive coming in the opening days of camp), but this contract cements him in that role.
KYLER MURRAY LATE-SEASON SWOONS
We all saw the late season collapse from the Cardinals, and Murray in particular. Over his last 8 games in 2021 he threw for 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. That compares to 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in his first 7 games. A very stark difference.
Now there are many factors, injuries paramount among them, but key seemed to be a lacked of adjustment by the Cardinals offence, and a lot of adjustment by the opposition. Take the Rams as a prime example
|Week||CMP %||YARDS||YPA||TD||INT||PFF GRADE|
There a very dramatic swing in that Rams D’s favour over the course of the season, with Kyler Murray’s completion % dropping by almost 10% each time he faced them.
And this is where the new 4-hours of independent study come in, and I don’t believe it’s a reactionary, or even cautionary clause. I think Kingsbury wants this clause so that he can add more wrinkles for every game.
The Cardinals offence has been fundamentally unchanging after install in camp. Throughout the season there are very few new concepts, route combinations, or adjustments made. But by mandating additional study time for Kyler Murray in the new contract, Kliff Kingsbury has given himself the time to add those wrinkles.
While some, most, in the media have been ripping Murray for a lack of preparation and the Cardinals needing to add the clause to bring him in line, that really doesn’t hold water when we think about it. Would the Cardinals really give a player $160-million in guaranteed money if they thought he didn’t prepare enough? Unlikely.
Expect to see Kyler Murray improve down the stretch this season and put all those doubters in their place.