GLENDALE, AZ — There is a belief surrounding the Arizona Cardinals heading into the 2020 season. A loaded offense, a revamped defense, continuity among the coaching staff and familiarity with scheme. Of course, how successful the season will be hinges, in large part, on the growth of second-year quarterback Kyler Murray.
"It felt like freshman year of college where you gotta get used to the speed of the game again," Murray said of his rookie season. "But towards the end of the year, I felt pretty good. I felt pretty good about what we were doing offensively, and I think it showed on the field."
Murray won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award, despite what head coach Kliff Kingsbury said was a season of survival for the number one overall pick. Now Murray knows what to expect, and said he, and his teammates, are much more comfortable going into year two.
"Everybody kind of already knows the system. We don't have to pause and there's not that many stops, not many reloads," Murray said. "So just the operations of everything has been so much smoother."
Murray entered training camp this year looking bulked up, something wide receiver Christian Kirk joked they've been pumping their quarterback up about.
"I didn't go into the off-season saying, 'Oh, I need to put on 10 pounds, five, or however many pounds I put on," Murray said. "It just comes from working hard. That'll always be who I am."
Some added muscle certainly won't hurt when it comes to taking hits. Murray was sacked 48 times last year, though roughly half of them were his responsibility. This year, however, teams will have to focus much more on the plethora of Cardinals weapons, including All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins.
Murray said he met Hopkins for the first time this summer when he organized a workout in Dallas, but he's been watching him for a long time.
"I think he's got a feel that you can't really coach," Murray said. "Obviously him being one of the best ever do it already. He's proven that he just has it, and hopefully we can build this thing together and be great."
Between Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, Murray will have plenty of targets on the outside to throw to. Add in Kenyan Drake, plus a defense that is motivated to right the wrongs from last season, and expectations are high for this team. So where does Murray see them going?
"I'm actually not going to answer that question," he chuckled. "I'm gonna keep that one inside."