Regional Sports

Murray teaches Jones quarterback lesson

In the game billed as two young quarterbacks of today and tomorrow on Sunday, Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray showed Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones how far he has come along at that position.

Murray knew how to operate an offense and manage the clock so much better than his counterpart, and he knew how to make plays and avoid making mistakes. He played like a polish quarterback, and that’s why the Cardinals are 3-3-1 after a 27-21 victory over the 2-5 Giants at MetLife Stadium.

The No. 1 overall pick gets better each week while Jones regresses each week.

He did not throw a touchdown, but he did not throw an interception, either. That’s something Jones can’t say.

Maybe Murray put game-managing numbers by completing 14 of 21 with 104 yards and no touchdowns compared to Jones completing 22 of 35 with 223 yards and a touchdown, but in the end, he showed Jones how to play the position under duress by avoiding being sacked and throwing the ball away when he had to. The Cardinals quarterback made a believable impression at his position than the Giants quarterback.

Murray showed why the Cardinals want to build around him when he orchestrated a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive and gave them the possession of the football for seven minutes in the Cardinals’ first possession of the game. He electrified the crowd by throwing deep early, and then he handed the ball to Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds for a 20-yard touchdown, giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.

In the end, when the Cardinals relied on Murray to not mess it up and keep his unit on the field for so long, he did just that by making plays when he had to. The Cardinals scored a touchdown in the third quarter and kicked a field goal in the fourth quarter.

Jones had his moments. He threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Rhett Ellison, cutting the Cardinals’ lead to 17-7 in the second quarter. But other than that, he struggled. He couldn’t keep his unit on the field. He had four turnovers that included three fumbles and one interception. At times, he played like a skittish quarterback, which he was running for cover rather than make plays.

To be honest, he did not play smart whatsoever. He gave the Giants nothing in the second half.

This comes down to coaching. Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury seems to know how to put Murray in a position to succeed while Giants head coach Pat Shurmur does not seem to know what to do.

For some reason, Shurmur wants Jones strictly to be a pocket passer. It’s okay to use his mobility to make plays. It’s how Jones won his NFL starting quarterback debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which seems like a few years ago than it was a few weeks ago.

Kingsbury has an advantage over Shurmur with quarterbacks in a sense Murray came into the draft as a polished quarterback while James showed he can be a diamond in the rough.

The Cardinals offensive guru knew he can get results out of a quarterback who was ready to play in the NFL. The Giants offensive guru knew he had to put so much work with a quarterback that needs seasoning.

Shurmur’s job security predicates on whether or not Jones performs. He has to get his quarterback to improve and head in the right direction when the season is over for him or else he could be out of a job.

His job can be easy if Jones has that ability to make him look good. Sunday does not appear to be the case. Six interceptions in his NFL career does not inspire any confidence.

Shurmur has yet to show he can develop quarterbacks. Kingsbury has that going for him in the case of Patrick Mahomes, who played well when both worked at Texas Tech with the Cardinals coach being the Texas Tech head coach and the Chiefs quarterback being the Texas Tech quarterback.

The least Jones can do is play smart at least. He should know how to throw the ball away if he has no play to work with. He should also know how to take care of the ball. It shouldn’t require teaching for that.

Jones received favorable reviews for his NFL quarterback debut, and he earned it. Since then, he offered nothing. He raised more doubts than answers about his play. Sunday raised more questions than ever.

Murray played well against the Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals to make a case he can play in the NFL. Plus, he won the Heisman Trophy for developing into a playmaker as a quarterback. Jones can’t speak of success like that.

On optics alone, Murray showed he belongs in the NFL than Jones from observing both play under duress in the game.

This is not to say Jones can’t play the NFL. It says here he has work to do before he can be a serviceable NFL quarterback.

Maybe Murray may never be a star, but on this day, he earned his NFL stripes than Jones.


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