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Veteran wide receiver A.J. Green officially made his return to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, signing a one-year contract that he hopes will give him a chance to fix his chemistry with quarterback Kyler Murray.
Green spoke to the media after signing his contract, and admitted that the relationship between him and Murray wasn't where it should have been last year. Green blames himself for that, and he already has a plan to fix it.
"There is a lot of room (for growth)," Green said via the team website. "For me, it's communicating with him what I see, and what he wants me to do and how he wants me to run this (particular) route. I think last year there was a lacking on my part. I didn't really communicate with him about stuff like that because I didn't want to put a lot of stuff on his plate.
"For me, it's being more in his face, talking together. 'A.J. you need to do this better,' and I'll be like, 'OK, I've got to do this better.' Don't be hesitant when it comes to my play. 'A.J., you need to pick this up.' The second year is going to be big for that."
The lack of connection between Murray and Green was most obvious in the Cardinals' first loss of the season, which came in Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers. With less than 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Cardinals down by three, Murray threw what could have been the game-winning touchdown pass to Green in the end zone.
Except Green didn't turn around. He was faced away from Murray, which gave Rasul Douglas the opportunity to catch the ball for an interception that secured the win for Green Bay.
Green, Murray weren't on same page
Green discussed his connection with Murray (or lack thereof) on an upcoming episode of the "Big Red Rage" set to air Thursday on Arizona Sports 98.7. He was asked if it was fair for people to wonder if he and Murray weren't on the same page very often last year.
"That's fair," Green said via the team website. "That is 100 percent fair. I felt the same way. That's where I have to be accountable. I need to go to him and tell him what I see and (him tell me) what he needs me to do better. I can take it – 'A.J., run the route at this depth. You need to do this.' I'm no bigger than the team. I need him to communicate with me, and I'll do the same."
The Cards had a lot of potential in 2021, and Green's relationship with Murray was only one of several reasons it was squandered. But Green focusing on correcting that means there's already one item the Cardinals can cross off of their list of things to fix in 2022.