Kyler Murray is widely believed to be a future superstar at the quarterback position. In fact, many believe that this could be the case almost immediately after he takes the field for his first official game.
However, just as every young quarterback has had to do, Murray will need to get used to the NFL. Not only in terms of how the play differs from college but the rules that go along with it. This was on full display during his preseason.
Kyler Murray’s snap clap
Kyler Murray tends to clap before a snap. Unfortunately for him, NFL officials perceive this to be a false start at the professional level. As a result, his brief stint against the Raiders resulted in not one, but two false start penalties.
On its own, this is not a big deal. He can learn from this and move on into the regular season having learned his lesson before there were any stakes to what he did.
The problem appears not to be in the fact that he is clapping, but how he is clapping. According to Murray (per ESPN), the way he clapped was both “too abrupt” and “not smooth enough as far as bringing [his] hands together.”
The NFL Rulebook, according to Deadspin, states that “any quick and abrupt movement” is a False start. Kyler Murray, for his part, isn’t happy with the way that the NFL has chosen to dictate this rule, putting the impetus on the defense to watch the ball, not his hands. Regardless, Murray has shown restraint in the weeks since and hasn’t picked up a false start since.
While officials may get used to Murray’s clapping if he does keep it up, he will get a new crew almost every week to start his career, so this could take a long time.
False start penalties are typically done by the most by offensive linemen. According to NFLPenalties.com, 371 of 586 false start penalties were committed by them during the 2018 season. Tight ends got 95, wide receivers were called for 62, running backs received 15, and quarterbacks received only nine false starts.
On one hand, this looks good for Kyler Murray entering the regular season. However, just because they didn’t call the penalties when he wasn’t in the league, it doesn’t mean that he will get the benefit of the doubt.
There are arguments to be made that it is up to the officials to know that he is not trying to gain an advantage, but it would be more advantageous for Murray not to play with fire regardless of how frustrated the officials make him.
His weeks following the calls showed his ability to adjust, however, and things are looking up for the young quarterback.
Kyler Murray’s rookie season
Murray has a lot of pressure going into the NFL. He has been making headlines since his college days. Now, with a young Cardinals team that is looking to become a new young dynasty, Murray will be given the keys early on in his career. Kliff Kingsbury has made headlines with his college-like approach to coaching, so the adjustments could be eased by having the young coach on his side.
His junior year at Oklahoma, the only one in his college career where he got extended run, was a masterful season. Not only did he pass for nearly 4,400 yards, but he also completed 69% of his passes and threw for 42 touchdowns to go along with only seven interceptions. He also showed an ability to rush, running for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns himself.
Murray will have to adjust to the NFL, but he has shown lots of promise and an ability to grow and learn. False starts are a tiny part of the game, and Murray could make this brief hiccup a forgotten memory as soon as the season begins.