Let me introduce you to a star in the making named Kyler Murray. Murray attended prep powerhouse Allen (Tx.) High School. He finished his high school career with a 42-0 record, only missing one start. Some have made the case that he is the greatest high school football player ever. He’s a one-of-a-kind athlete and the first player to ever be selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game in football and baseball.
He was a full-year starter for the 2018 season at the University of Oklahoma. In that one season, he won the Heisman Trophy. He was also selected in the first round of the draft. Which draft? Both the Major League Baseball draft by the Oakland A’s and the National Football League draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
With that sort of resume, you’d presume his success would continue. Well, it certainly has.
In only his second season with the Cardinals, Murray already holds 14 team records and the Cardinals are currently 2-0 for the first time since 2015. This is an impressive feat for a team that has struggled mightily for years. But what’s most impressive is how Murray is getting it done.
Although he’s short in stature by “traditional” quarterback standards, Murray has been a prolific passer at every level of football. As a rookie, he passed for 3,722 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a quarterback rating of 87.4 on a team that went 5-10-1. So winning with his arm is something he continues to do even in the NFL. What’s been equally impressive is his ability with his legs.
Murray is a quarterback, first and foremost, who happens to also be a dynamic athlete. He did not run at the NFL Scouting Combine but was widely considered to have been timed in the 4.3s while in college. Having dynamic receivers on the outside along with his prowess as a passer opens up running lanes for him. Asa former defensive player myself, there’s nothing more demoralizing to a team and a defense than to defend a long drive, finally get the offense in 3rd-and-long, have all the receivers covered well, and then have the quarterback run for a first down.
As a runner, Murray’s dynamic and elusive. His short-area agility and lateral mobility make him a problem to deal with in the open field. His offense makes you cover all angles of the field due to his ability to beat you with his arm and beat you with his legs. If defenses choose to spy him and have a defender follow him everywhere, that’s fine. They’ve just committed one less person to the passing game, allowing favorable matchups for his receivers. He is a rare athlete who forces defensive coordinators to stay awake and think of what part of his game they’ll take away. Running backs see “lighter” boxes because they have to defend every area of the field that Murray affects. The offensive line gives up fewer sacks statistically, because he is so elusive and gets positive yardage even when his linemen have been beaten. Even the defense gets more rest because he engineers long drives due to his ability to get first downs through the air or on the ground.
General manager Steve Keim loves him because he effectively cooled his hot seat, after being given an ultimatum and several mulligans by ownership for several first-round misses. Ownership has to love his exciting style of play because it puts people in the seats (when fans are allowed to return) and ultimately affects the bottom line in positive fashion.
As a player, Murray literally affects every aspect of the team. What’s scary is that it’s only his second year in the NFL and there’s so much room for growth.
Wins and losses are the most important statistic for a quarterback and he has been a winner every place he’s been. If the past is a predictor for future performance, I hope Cardinals fans appreciate that they are witnessing greatness and will be for many years to come.
- Dec 08, 2022
- Dec 08, 2022