The Arizona Cardinals picked up their third win of the season on Sunday, defeating the New York Jets 30-10. We have already pointed out many of the studs from the game like Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and Dennis Gardeck.
However, two players who went a bit under the radar got recognized by Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar as some of the league’s secret superstars of Week 5.
Why did they garner this recognition?
The Cardinals’ passing game hasn’t always been as explosive as we might have expected in Kyler Murray’s second NFL season, but that changed in Arizona’s 30-10 Week 5 win over the Jets. In that game, Murray completed four of five passes of 20 or more air yards for 130 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions after completing just five of 15 such passes for 172 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions in the season’s first four weeks. One big reason for the change? Pass protection. In that Jets game, left tackle D.J. Humphries and right tackle Kelvin Beachum combined to allow no sacks, no quarterback hits, and no quarterback hurries in Arizona’s 43 pass-blocking reps. When Murray did succumb to pressure and miss deep shots, it was the result of an issue that crept up in his rookie season of 2019 — he has a tendency to bail from the pocket and make risky throws when it’s not necessary.
That’s an issue that needs to be cleaned up, but if you want to know why the deep ball has returned to the Valley of the Sun, look no further than Arizona’s tackle duo.
So in all Murray’s dropbacks, no pressure game from off the edge. That would explain the uptick in production in the passing game.
General manager Steve Keim called out his highest-paid players last week on the radio. Humphries is one of those guys and had been some of the problem.
The Cardinals rarely get praised for their offensive line play. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has said the lack of a preseason has affected the rhythm of the offense. Now that the first month of the season is done, hopefully the play of both Humphries and Beachum in Week 5 is the beginning of a stretch of top play.