Every week after struggling mightily in opposition to an explosive dual-threat quarterback in Deshaun Watson, the Patriots will get a crack at Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.
The Cardinals lead the National Football League with 414.3 yards per recreation and have established themselves as one of many extra harmful offensive groups in soccer.
Kliff Kingsbury, 41 – who’s broadly thought to be one of many brightest younger coaches within the recreation – has the Cardinals at 6-4 and within the combine for a spot within the playoffs and probably an NFC West division title. The Patriots drafted Kingsbury, a former QB, within the sixth spherical in 2003. He earned a Tremendous Bowl ring when the Patriots beat the Panthers in Tremendous Bowl XXVIII regardless of not enjoying a recreation and spending all season on injured reserve.
He mentioned Invoice Belichick taught him how you can put together for any potential state of affairs, and he famous that he benefited significantly from his time in New England.
“I realized extra soccer than in all probability wherever in my life there,” Kingsbury mentioned.
Now he’s main a group on the rise in search of a key win on the stadium he as soon as referred to as dwelling.
Kyler Murray “can ball.”
Murray was restricted in follow Wednesday and Thursday resulting from a proper shoulder damage, and as of Friday morning, his standing for Sunday’s recreation is unsure.
Kingsbury mentioned the plan is to “see how he progresses,” noting that he needs to make sure he’s prepared earlier than he makes something official. If Murray is on the market, it’s clear the Patriots may have a frightening problem forward of them.
“He can ball,” Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty said. “I imply, he was the No. 1 choose for a motive.”
Murray, who grew to become the primary athlete ever to be chosen within the first spherical of each the NFL and MLB drafts, played baseball for the Harwich Mariners within the Cape Cod League in the summertime of 2017.
In honor of tonight’s NFL Draft, #TBT to final years NFL Draft when Kyler Murray (Harwich ‘17) was chosen 1st total!
Kyler Murray is the one participant to ever homer in a CCBL recreation AND win NFL Rookie of the 12 months! pic.twitter.com/athCVvRh8O
— Cape League (@Official_CCBL) April 24, 2020
He then received the Heisman Trophy with Oklahoma in 2018 and elected to pursue soccer professionally. The 5-foot-10 Murray was named the Offensive Rookie of the 12 months, and he’s taken one other main step in his second season.
This 12 months, he’s accomplished 68.3 % of his passes, thrown 19 landing passes in comparison with eight interceptions, and has rushed for 10 touchdowns as nicely. He’s established himself as the most effective dual-threat quarterbacks within the NFL and as a darkish horse MVP candidate.
Murray has powered the Cardinals to wins over the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Buffalo Payments, amongst different groups. He’s garnered reward from many teammates and opposing gamers alongside the best way, together with Patriots quarterback Cam Newton.
“Kyler is an individual who is electrical,” Newton said Wednesday. “I’ve had the chance to see Lamar (Jackson). I’ve clearly had the chance to play in opposition to Deshaun (Watson) final week. These guys, and Kyler this week, it’s simply enjoyable to play in opposition to a man like that, in addition to realizing that the sport is form of turning to that model of quarterback.”
They’ve one of many NFL’s most explosive speeding assaults.
After dealing with a Houston Texans group that was second-to-last in speeding yards per recreation (87.9), the Patriots can be up in opposition to a Cardinals group that’s second within the NFL in that class (157.7).
The Cardinals have extra speeding touchdowns (16) than every other group, they usually additionally common probably the most yards per carry (5.2) within the league. Along with Murray’s playmaking means, Okayenyan Drake has 641 speeding yards and 5 touchdowns, whereas Chase Edmonds is averaging 4.9 yards per keep on the season.
Belichick referred to as the Cardinals an “explosive” soccer group and mentioned they excel on third down and in short-yardage conditions. He famous that the Patriots aren’t as conversant in them as they’re with another groups – their final assembly got here in 2016, and the sequence is tied 7-7 overall – however he’s tried to zero in on their tendencies this week.
He mentioned the zone learn is a giant play for Arizona, the place Murray both offers the ball to the again or retains it himself. Belichick made it clear it’s not simply Murray who could make performs occur together with his legs, as Drake and Edmonds are each reliable choices.
“They’re each superb with the ball of their fingers,” Belichick mentioned. “It’s two glorious backs who can do a whole lot of various things.”
The tough half, after all, is that Murray also can throw the ball successfully.
They’ll be with out Larry Fitzgerald.
Cardinals large receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Trent Sherfield had been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday and can miss Sunday’s recreation.
Fitzgerald, who is taken into account a lock for the Corridor of Fame, is second all-time in each receptions (1,421) and receiving yards (17,419), behind solely Jerry Rice. This season, Fitzgerald has 43 catches for 336 yards and is second on the group in receptions and targets, trailing simply DeAndre Hopkins.
He’s missed solely six video games so far in his 17-year profession, and the 37-year-old standout hasn’t sat out in over 5 seasons.
Belichick credited Fitzgerald for his data and dedication to his craft.
“He’s, I might say, to receivers what Peyton Manning was to quarterbacks when it comes to that kind of complete obsession of realizing all the pieces concerning the place and how you can do issues and how you can convey these to his teammates,” Belichick mentioned.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 26, 2020
He referred to as his longevity “exceptional” and mentioned he has super fingers, focus, and skill to make clutch performs. Belichick highlighted Fitzgerald’s sturdiness and manufacturing over the course of his profession.
Sherfield has only one reception for six yards this season.
Fellow large receiver DeAndre Hopkins missed Wednesday’s follow with an unspecified sickness, however he was a full participant Thursday. With Fitzgerald and Sherfield out, the Cardinals will depend on Hopkins – the NFL’s chief in receiving yards – Christian Kirk, and UMass product Andy Isabella.
Their protection is inconsistent, however rookie Isaiah Simmons has been a catalyst.
One participant to observe on protection is 2020 No. 8 choose Isaiah Simmons, who registered a vital interception in extra time in opposition to the Seahawks in Week 7. Simmons, a linebacker, has improved significantly because the season has progressed.
“He was drafted to be a Swiss Military knife for us, and he’s turning into that,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph told reporters. “It simply took a bit longer.”
ISAIAH SIMMONS. INTERCEPTED.
— NFL (@NFL) October 26, 2020
As a complete, although, Arizona’s protection hasn’t stood out this season. The Cardinals have given up 28 or extra factors in every of their final 4 video games after doing so solely as soon as of their first six. Granted, their schedule has gotten progressively harder, however they’ve struggled of late to maintain different groups out of the tip zone.
They’re towards the underside of the league in yards per recreation (nineteenth, 367.7), passing yards per recreation (18th, 237.5), and speeding yards (twenty third, 124.7), they usually’ve allowed 23.8 factors per recreation – which is 14th within the NFL and occurs to be the very same quantity because the Patriots.
The Patriots have a stark benefit in a single particular space.
The Patriots don’t have many clear-cut benefits on this matchup, however they do have one that might go a good distance in serving to their odds.
New England is presently committing only 3.6 accepted penalties per game, which is by far the fewest within the NFL. Arizona, in the meantime, has by far probably the most per recreation at 7.9.
Of their 28-21 loss to division rival Seattle, the Cardinals had been penalized 10 instances for 115 yards – and at key moments. They had been additionally referred to as for 4 false begin penalties with no followers within the stands.
In complete, they’ve had 24 drives this season which have been stalled partially resulting from penalties.
“It’s unacceptable to have that many,” Kingsbury mentioned.
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