For the second year in a row, the Detroit Lions will open the regular season against a rookie quarterback. Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim announced on this week that the team has every intention on playing Kyler Murray, the first overall pick in this year’s draft, in Week 1.
“We didn’t draft him one overall to ride the pine,” Keim told Rich Eisen on Monday. “I know it’s a lot to put on his back, but that’s why we drafted him.”
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury wasn’t quite as adamant when asked the same question on Wednesday while appearing on The Jim Rome Show.
“We’ll see,” Kingsbury said. “We’re still working through all those things. We have Brett Hundley here who we’re very excited about, but we’ll see where that kinda goes.”
Regardless, it seems highly unlikely the Cardinals go with Hundley over Murray. For Detroit, it means a second chance at kicking the season off right against a rookie quarterback. Last year, Sam Darnold led the New York Jets to 48-17 win over the Lions in their season opener. Darnold threw for 198 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 116.8 in the process, despite opening the game with a pick-six.
In fact, this will be the third time the Lions face a rookie quarterback in the season opener since the infamous 2008 season, when rookie Matt Ryan led the Falcons to a 34-21 victory on a near flawless day from the Atlanta quarterback.
However, there are reasons to believe this go around may be different for the Lions defense. Unlike last year, Detroit isn’t undergoing a complete defensive scheme overhaul. And five months ago, the Lions defense was able to hold the Cardinals to just three points and under 300 yards of total offense.
Kingsbury and Murray give the Cardinals a bit of a mystique to them in 2019, but hopefully that won’t result in another embarrassing opener for the Lions.