Aaron Murray gets chance to shine in Chiefs preseason game
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The nerves were obvious when the Chiefs' Aaron Murray rolled to his left late in the first half Friday night, looked downfield and threw a perfect pass - right to a Tennessee defender.
After that, Murray never looked nervous again.
The former fifth-round draft pick got his first chance to work with Kansas City's top offense this preseason, throwing for 146 yards and two touchdowns in a weather-shortened 34-10 win over the Titans.
But it was his ghastly throw late in the first half, after Alex Smith had taken a seat for the night, that stood out in Murray's mind.
''I was way too juiced up,'' he said. ''It was a poor decision on my part. I should have run or thrown the ball out of bounds. It's something you learn in this game.''
Everything is a learning experience for Murray, whose spot as the third-string quarterback is comfortable in Kansas City. Smith isn't going anywhere as the starter, and Chase Daniel has proven to be a dependable backup who even got the night off against Tennessee.
There are no other healthy quarterbacks on the roster.
That has allowed Murray to mature at his own pace, and the strides he has made since starring at Georgia showed in the way he moved Kansas City in the second half Friday night.
He displayed a feathery touch when he lofted a 29-yard TD pass to Fred Williams to cap a 10-play, 98-yard drive early in the fourth quarter. Then after a turnover, Murray hit Williams again from 4 yards for another touchdown that put things well out of reach.
''I wanted to get him in with the ones. That's one thing I haven't done,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ''I've been able to do it in the regular season with Chase. I haven't been able to do it with Murray, give him an opportunity to get in there with the one line and wide receivers.
So how did Murray fare in his coach's eyes?
''He had that pick. That wasn't very good. But he bounced back,'' Reid said. ''Short memory. You have got to have that, and I thought he did a good job and made some plays.''
A couple even went to Chris Conley, his former teammate with the Bulldogs. The third-round pick had three catches for 30 yards as he made up for time lost to a training camp injury.
''We definitely still have chemistry,'' Conley said. ''Aaron's a great friend of mine. He's a great football player and a great guy. Being able to reunite with him on the field is something special. Not a lot of people get to do that from college to the NFL.''
Murray even showed off his athleticism by running the option, something that would have been nearly impossible a year ago. Murray tore his ACL in November 2013, ending his college season.
''It's nice not having any restrictions compared to last (year),'' he said. ''I was wearing the knee brace; it kind of hindered moving around the pocket. It was definitely awesome being able to be a ballplayer and make plays.''
Reid said before the game that Smith and the starters would likely play the first three quarters in their final dress rehearsal for the regular season. So when he called for Murray just before halftime, the quarterback was as surprised as anybody inside Arrowhead Stadium.
Not that he was going to complain about the opportunity.
''I thought Alex was going to play the first half and part of the third quarter and I was going to play the rest. I think they were just happy with, `Hey, you've done your job. Let's get Aaron in there,''' he said. ''I was definitely happy getting in there that much tonight.''
NOTES: Reid said that LT Eric Fisher (ankle) and RG Jeff Allen (knee) are unlikely to play in the Chiefs' final preseason game Thursday night in St. Louis. ''I would probably bet against that,'' he said. ''Both of them.'' ... RB Charcandrick West sustained a concussion in the game, a team spokesman said Saturday. He is unlikely to play this week. ... Asked whether going for a 2-point conversion after missing an extra point Friday night would be the norm, Reid replied: ''That probably could vary from game to game, but I wanted to make sure that we caught up there, at least one point, point-spread wise.''
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