In a recent interview with ESPN’s Nick Wright, University of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray gave a few comments that should give Cardinals fans serious concerns about his NFL future.
The hype surrounding Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray has reached an all-time high, as the college football star has recently proven his athletic ability with a series of impressive feats. Most recently, Murray dabbled in the NFL combine, where he set the combine record for bench pressing a record 225 pounds 35 times . But, before that impressive showing, Murray was all over social media, doing things like this:If Cliff Kingsbury plans to coach the Arizona Cardinals after the 2021 season, he’ll need Kyler Murray to step up. And in many ways, the fate of the franchise rests almost entirely on the 6-foot-4 quarterback. But while Cardinals fans would like to believe that Murray can one day lead the team to a Super Bowl title, his recent comments should raise serious concerns about his NFL future.
Kyler Murray has room to grow before starting his third NFL season
Murray has set ambitious goals for the 2020 season. After being picked first in 2019, the former University of Oklahoma star was named NFL Rookie of the Year. However, in his second year in the league, he didn’t make the big jump that many expected. Murray’s winning percentage rose from 64.4 to 67.2. He threw 26 touchdowns, six more than as a rookie. He totaled 3,971 yards on 558 attempts. Murray also scored 819 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns, while completing 133 passes. However, the Cardinals recorded a disappointing 8-8 record and missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Kingsbury’s offense rose just three spots in the scoring rankings (16th in 2019; 13th in 2020), though it ranks sixth in total yards. Murray made nine turnovers, threw away 12 steals and failed to play at a high level all season. Aside from a great performance in Week 14 against the Philadelphia Eagles (406 passing yards, four touchdowns), the Cardinals have mostly stopped him in their last six games. Murray had three games in which he didn’t score a touchdown, and it’s no surprise that Arizona went 2-4. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray tries to walk away from Los Angeles Rams quarterback Samson Ebukam. | Norm Hall/Getty Images At one point in his athletic career, it looked like Murray would play baseball. The Oakland Athletics placed him ninth in the 2018 MLB Draft, which led to understandable speculation about his football future. But Murray has clearly decided to play quarterback in the pros. At least, it is now. Although he is clearly the team’s most important player, the Cardinals’ rising star refuses to give up the idea of returning to the field to be beaten. I know everyone in [the organization] probably thinks differently, Murray said, according to Arizona Cardinals senior writer Darren Urban. But personally, I’ve been playing this game my whole life. If I had the chance, I would definitely take it. What are we talking about here? I’m sure anyone who asks me about this will take this opportunity. I’m not trying to start anything. I’m just saying. Given his value to the franchise, Murray shouldn’t even be thinking about another sport. The Cardinals want him to do his best to win a Super Bowl title, not a World Series trophy. If you leave that door open (even if just a little bit), you can keep talking about Murray going to play baseball. Considering he still has a long way to go to reach his number one status, that won’t give Cardinals fans any more confidence in his future.
Arizona can’t afford to run with Murray
. In addition to the baseball topic, Murray also discussed his doubts about his future in football and talked about one of the most important elements of his game: ball handling. The third-year player spoke to reporters after Thursday’s practice, and his comments about the change in playing style will likely not endear him to Cardinals fans. Honestly, the way I see it, my legs should be a luxury, Murray said, according to Arizona Cardinals reporter Kyle Odegaard. This was not the case last year. In a way, I had to run for us. When my shoulder hurt and I stopped punching, we had a break. Honestly, I think it was a lesson to us. We can’t be one-dimensional. We need to improve in all aspects of the game. Luxury? If the Cardinals wanted a pocket passer, they could keep Josh Rosen, a 2018 first-round pick. Instead, Kingsbury chose Murray because he has the dynamic athletic talent to make his RPO-rich offense work. Does Arizona Murray still want to be on the field? No, of course not. But his speed and explosiveness set him apart from virtually every other NFL quarterback not named Lamar Jackson. Treating his legs as a luxury would deprive him of an important part of Arizona’s offense. Murray also did himself no favors by describing his shoulder situation. While no quarterback likes to take hits, it takes mental and physical toughness to survive in the NFL. If Murray was healthy enough to play all 16 games, you might wonder if he should have been on the field if his shoulder was really that limited. Otherwise, his comments could be seen as one more reason to doubt his ability to handle the difficulties of professional football. But hey, there’s always baseball. COMPARED TO: Tom Brady’s unexpected confession could have costly consequences for Buccaneers