THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Rams' defense will face its second dynamic, playmaking quarterback in as many weeks when they take on Kyler Murray and the Cardinals on Sunday in Arizona.
Just because Murray and the Ravens' Lamar Jackson have similar athletic profiles, however, doesn't mean their approaches as players and within their own offensive systems are identical, giving Los Angeles a different test to prepare for this weekend.
"It's going to be another challenge, especially with the quarterback being as versatile as he is," Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. "He doesn't run as many designed runs, certainly, but he does take off with the football and has great speed."
McVay said he's been impressed with how the Cardinals have utilized Murray as a runner, as well as Murray's acceleration and feel for manipulating defensive traffic to avoid taking hits.
"Then, some of the things that you see with just his ability to change the launch point, his ability to speed it up, make all those different types of throws in the pocket, out of the pocket," McVay said. "It's been really impressive in how good of a job he's done of taking care of the football."
According to Rams safety Eric Weddle, when Murray takes off to run, it's often to still throw the ball. Once Jackson sees a lane, he's taking off and running. When Murray does take off running, he tends to slide in the open field to avoid contact while Jackson takes on contact.
Schematically, the Ravens have molded their offense around Jackson to produce the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack this season. The Cardinals, in contrast, were going to be a pass-heavy team regardless of who their quarterback was, according to Weddle. However, with Murray running a similar offense at Oklahoma, it helps capitalize on what he does well.
"They want to air it out, they want to throw the ball," Weddle said. "They're the most 10 personnel, which is one running back for four rope receivers, they'll do that 30 to 40 percent of the game, which which you very rarely see. When they do that, they just want to throw the ball. So they're doing that because he can throw it and they're good at it."
Weddle knows what lies ahead.
"He's playing outstanding football," Weddle said. "We've got a tough challenge ahead of us."