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NFL Draft

3 Questions Kyler Murray Must Answer This Season

  • The Draft Network
  • August 20, 2021
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Quarterback Kyler Murray is fresh off his first Pro Bowl berth in the desert. While there are still many questions surrounding Kliff Kingsbury and his coaching prowess that need to be answered, the quarterback position is set for a number of years to come. In 2020, Murray threw for 3,971 yards and 26 passing touchdowns while also rushing for 819 yards and 11 scores on the ground. Having a true No. 1 receiver in DeAndre Hopkins proved to be beneficial to him and Arizona’s offense.

The Cardinals play in the most competitive conference in the NFL (NFC West), where the other three starting quarterbacks are Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Garoppolo/Trey Lance, and future Hall of Famer Russell Wilson. However, winning is the standard by which great quarterbacks are measured. The Cardinals missed the playoffs again last season with an 8-8 record after going 3-6 in the final nine games. The offense sputtered down the stretch, scoring a total of 19 points in the final two games of the season. The final game of the year was a critical one in which if the Cardinals won, they’d be in the playoffs. They lost to a Los Angeles Rams team whose quarterback, John Wolford, was playing in the AAF not long ago. 

Beyond team growth, there are still areas I’d like to see Murray improve on this upcoming season. Here are a few questions the talented quarterback must answer.

How quickly can Murray mesh with new additions to the WR room? 

Larry Fitzgerald has been a guiding light as a veteran presence for Murray from the moment he was drafted. However, Fitzgerald is currently not on the roster and doesn’t sound like he’ll be playing this season.

The future Hall of Famer was also a sure-handed receiver when Murray got into trouble. Scoring points will be critical to earn a playoff berth in the pass-happy NFC West. How quickly can Murray get A.J. Green up to speed and utilize the hyper-dynamic Rondale Moore?

Has Murray matured?

There have been rumblings that many on the Cardinals staff were displeased with Murray’s maturity level. It definitely showed in his play. There were too many occasions in 2020 where Murray had poor body language after a bad play or an assignment error by one of his receivers.

As the leader of that offense and one of the leaders on the team, the quarterback has a large responsibility. A team takes on the attitude of its leader. If his body language is bad when things aren’t going well, other players sense this and it could ultimately be detrimental to the team.  There have also been rumblings of Murray missing practices during training camp due to off-the-field issues, taking days off to “clear his head.” He was recently quoted as saying he doesn’t like preseason. When you reach a certain level of maturity, you look at EVERY opportunity as a chance to get better. 

Has Murray learned to protect himself?

As the face of the franchise, you have the fate of many people in that organization in the palm of your hands—no pun intended. He can take the next step by showing that he can win from the pocket and only utilizing his legs when he has to, as well as knowing when to slide and avoid injury. His lower-leg injury (along with other nagging ones) led to him not playing in the crucial final game last season, which proved costly. As previously mentioned, had the Cardinals won their final game against the Rams, they would’ve earned a playoff berth.

Although he likely won't get much preseason action, I’m eager to see Murray’s growth in these areas. The future fate of many in that organization is dependent on it.

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