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Kyler Murray receives two false start penalties for clapping the wrong way

Raiders Cardinals Football
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray watches during the second half of a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on Aug. 15 in Glendale, Ariz.
(Ralph Freso / Associated Press)

Like any rookie, Kyler Murray has plenty to learn about playing in the NFL.

Apparently one of those things is how to clap his hands during the snap count without getting flagged for a false start.

Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, struggled throughout the four series he played during the Arizona Cardinals’ 33-26 preseason loss to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night at State Farm Stadium. The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback completed three of eight passes for 12 yards and ran once for four yards. He was also sacked in the end zone for a safety.

Murray probably could have done without the two false start penalties — an infraction called on NFL quarterbacks only eight times last season. The way he clapped is not uncommon among college quarterbacks.

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After the game, Murray said the officials told him it wasn’t that he clapped during the snap count out of the shotgun, it was how he clapped that drew the flags.

“Apparently I was just too abrupt, not smooth enough as far as bringing my hands together goes,” Murray said. “To me it’s like any other hard count. It’s the defense’s job to watch the ball, so it doesn’t really make sense to me.”

According to the NFL rulebook, any quick or abrupt movement by a player in position to receive the snap in the shotgun formation — including “thrusting his hands forward when there is not a simultaneous snap” — is considered a false start.

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury was seen before the game apparently discussing the issue with an official, with both men appearing to demonstrate what kind of pre-snap clapping is and is not allowed.

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“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 after the game. “We’re going to work through that and make sure everybody’s on the same page ... and make sure we’re doing things that they deem legal.”


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