Remember back when Nick Bosa was supposed to go to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 1 and then the San Francisco 49ers had to choose between Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams? Well, Kyler Murray put an end to that when Kliff Kingsbury became head coach of the Cardinals and now Murray is helming quarterback duties. Murray had an OK Week 1 of preseason, but his second week was atrocious.
Look, you can’t take anything from the preseason. I get that a quarterback’s performance in preseason isn’t very indicative of their abilities in the regular season, but completing three of eight passes for 12 yards? A safety? False starts?
Wait, what? Kyler Murray got flagged for false start? Yes, yes he did. Twice. Murray did fake claps to get false starts. This is bizarre since such a call is so rarely thrown by officials. FOX Sports rules analyst and former NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino can explain this madness better than I can:
There is no prohibition against clapping. You just can’t do anything abrupt to try and draw the defense offside. The action has to be smooth and deliberate. They are calling it very tight on him. I didn’t think what he was doing was abrupt.— Dean Blandino (@DeanBlandino) August 16, 2019
So, welcome to the NFL, Murray? It’s preseason, so whatever atrocious numbers Murray puts don’t amount to much, but after hearing that clapping can get false start penalties, it makes you wonder when this trickles to the rest of the league. Russell Wilson does it. Drew Brees does it. I’m sure at some point Jimmy Garoppolo could do it.
Don’t count on the NFL to iron this thing out for consistency either. According to Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers, the NFL is leaving the decision up to the officials to determine if a quarterback clap without the ball is a false start.
The NFL doesn’t know what a catch is, what a pass interference call is, and coming soon to a television screen near you, it won’t know what a false start is.
This isn’t something in defense of Murray, it’s more a groan knowing that the NFL, rather than quickly sit down and get everyone on the same page with this rule, is going to let one game be called one way and one called another. It’s another inconsistency and now that the floodgates have been opened up on this rule, there’s no way we don’t go through a full 16-game season without this happening again. At least, history has said it could come up again.
In the meantime, Murray may want to work on his clapping. And 49ers? save us all a headache, don’t put the clap in Garoppolo’s cadence at all. If the refs want to flag Trent Taylor for pass interference, then no sense in chancing a false start on clapping.
Do you see this “rule” resurfacing during the regular season?