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Kyler Murray Continues to Make Strides as the Cardinals Offense Gets Better

Not many knew what to expect when the Arizona Cardinals took the field for real to start the 2019 NFL season on opening day.

If you had to place a bet with Novibet on that first Sunday of the year, the Cards were underdogs against the visiting Detroit Lions, and the Lions really took it to the Cards for about three quarters, building a decent sized lead.

But hence, that’s why you play all 60 minutes.

Enter the first overall pick of the draft, a player who despite the hype had his share of struggles both in the preseason and early on in his first NFL start.

For Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense, it was time to make a statement, and the first-overall pick led Arizona to 18 points in the final quarter, working hard for a 27-27 tie.

Arizona had two chances to win in extra time and so did the Lions, but all they could do was trade field goals.

“It’s like a participation trophy,” Arizona offensive lineman Justin Pugh said after the game. “I want to throw it out.”

For the Cards though, it showed that maybe, just maybe, it was the right decision to give up after one year on Josh Rosen and take a huge gamble on drafting Murray with the first overall pick.

That day though was a coming out party for the Cardinals offense, and while there’s been some expected growing pains along the way, overall this is an offense that has taken some solid strides already in 2019.

Murry sits already with a mark of 2-3-1, and thus far sits with a solid quarterback rating of 87.6, not bad for a quarterback that many felt was being pushed too hard, too soon.

He’s shown poise as well as the ability to lead, which are two things that the team really never had under Rosen in his one year in the desert.

The Cardinals still have a long way to go with their developing offense, their young quarterback, and a defense that simply needs to step up and play better with the game on the line.

Murray has thrown for 1,664 yards, putting up a completion percentage of 56.6. He has been wise in most of his throws (has been picked off four times with seven touchdowns), and also has not forced the ball which is the usual routine for young quarterbacks.

It will be interesting to see how things play out when the Cardinals take on another young QB in the Giants Daniel Jones.

For Murry and that Cards offense, they’ve been about as good as advertised in 2019 do date.

Cardinals Bring Back Wide Receiver Pharoh Cooper

The Cardinals re-signed veteran wideout Pharoh Cooper, Darren Urban of Azcardinals.com reports.

Cooper, originally claimed off waivers by the Cardinals last December, made a push for the 2019 roster before getting released at the end of the preseason. He was claimed off waivers by the Bengals, who released him two weeks ago.

Cooper had six punt returns in two games for the Cardinals last season but did not record a reception. Given that Kirk was returning punts, Cooper could drop right into that role. Cooper made the Pro Bowl in 2017 as a return man for the Los Angeles Rams.

In his career, Cooper has 25 receptions for 190 yards.

Cardinals Can’t Stop the Panthers; Fall at Home 38-20

After a tie and a decent showing in a loss to the Ravens last week, the Cardinals laid an egg on Sunday to a Cam Newton-less Panthers team, as their defense was terrible in a home loss 38-20.

Here’s video highlights of the loss.

Video: Highlights of the Cardinals 17-13 Preseason Week One Win Over the Chargers

The Los Angeles Charges take on the Arizona Cardinals during Week 1 of the 2019 NFL preseason.

Here’s some takeaways from the four-point preseason win for the Cards

Sporting News Picks the NFL 2019 Division Winners – Where Do the Cardinals Fall?

It’s that time of the year when national pundits start to look ahead and pick records for teams around the league, as well as pick the winners of the divisions.

Sporting News is out with their 2019 predictions, and they have their picks in for the NFC West.

To the surprise of no one they have the Rams winning the division with a mark of 11-5, and then the Hawks and 49ers both at 8-8, and last are the Cards who they say will end the year at a tough 3-13.

Here’s the complete rundown of who Sporting News likes along with the Super Bowl teams.

Cardinals Still Discussing Signing Wide Out Michael Crabtree

The Cardinals’ pursuit of veteran free agent wide receiver Michael Crabtree is on hold, at least for the time being, after Crabtree declined to accept Arizona’s contract offer on Monday.

That doesn’t mean it still couldn’t happen, Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic reports. It also doesn’t mean the Cardinals won’t pursue other wide receivers that are available now or those who might soon become available.

“We’re going to continue to bring guys in that we think can possibly improve our roster and Mike is a guy who I’ve known for a long time and has had a ton of success in this league,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said before Tuesday’s practice at State Farm Stadium. “So, we’re going to keep bringing guys in and see what fits.”

Contrary to popular opinion, the Cardinals’ interest in adding Crabtree didn’t really have anything to do with the team’s general lack of experienced receivers.

Of the dozen wideouts presently on the roster, only one other than Larry Fitzgerald has appeared in more than 17 NFL games. That would be Pharoh Cooper, who’s only played in 33.

But youth is part of the Cardinals’ strengths, according to Kingsbury, who said the inexperience at the position isn’t such a bad thing and it’s not what prompted the team to look into signing Crabtree, 31.

“I don’t think it does,” Kingsbury said of Arizona’s collection of young receivers. “I’m excited about it, honestly, for them to start with a young quarterback (in Kyler Murray) and grow up together and learn a system and hopefully grow up in that system for quite some time. I think, to me, it’s a fresh start for all those guys and to learn from a guy like Fitz, that’s one way to expedite how to do things as a pro.”

Kingsbury was asked if it’s possible that a deal could still be struck with Crabtree, possibly even after Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Chargers.

“Anything can happen,” he said. “Like I said, he’s a tremendous player. He’s been very successful in the league. So, we’ll see what happens.”

Cardinals Ink LB Andre Branch to One-Year Deal

Linebacker Andre Branch found a new home Tuesday, signing a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, Jelani Scott of NFL.com reports.

Branch had been connected to the Cardinals since June when he took a visit with the team. Arizona was the only franchise Branch met with in the offseason after being released by the Dolphins in March.

Adding another pass-rushing veteran to go along with Chandler Jones and free agent addition Terrell Suggs should give the Cards solid depth on the edge.

Branch, 30, played the past three seasons with the Dolphins and appeared in 44 games (26 starts) and had 97 tackles, 11.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Video: Takeoff: A Preview of the 2019 Arizona Cardinals

A Preview of the 2019 Arizona Cardinals…

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