In just his second preseason, Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray accomplished something no other quarterback did last season — but not in a good way.
During the Cardinals’ second preseason game on Thursday, Murray was called for two false-start penalties because of his clapping for the ball on the snap.
Murray said after the game that the referees said his clap was too “abrupt” and that he was “not smooth enough” in bringing his hands together.
According to ESPN, last season there were eight false-start penalties on quarterbacks, but no player was flagged twice in the same game.
After the game, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said the team has been talking to the league about Murray’s clapping. He noted that it is more common in college, but that they won’t be changing Murray’s cadence.
“I think it’s the first time for certain officials to see it, and we’ve been in contact with the league and had a great conversation on it,” Kingsbury said. “We’re going to work through that and make sure everybody’s on the same page.”
Cameras also showed Kingsbury on Thursday speaking to refs about the clapping.
On ESPN’s “Get Up!” on Friday, analysts Jordan Rodgers, Sam Ponder, and Rex Ryan disagreed about what exactly the problem was with the clapping.
The main issue is that clapping too abruptly can be seen as a blatant attempt to draw the defense off-sides. It is, of course, a judgment call by the referees, but narrowing down the right way to clap will become a difficult assessment for officials to make. It will also require Murray and Kingsbury fine-tuning the cadence, which could affect the overall offense.
Overall, it was a forgettable night for Murray, who completed just 3-of-8 passing for 12 yards and fell in the end zone for a safety while trying to avoid a sack.
Murray and the Cardinals will have a multitude of issues to work through, but simply snapping the ball cleanly is a worrisome one with the regular season three weeks away.
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