ARIZONA CARDINALS

O captain, my captain! Kyler Murray, Budda Baker don’t take captaincy lightly

Sep 8, 2021, 6:09 PM | Updated: Sep 9, 2021, 8:41 am
Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals is greeted by A.J. Green #18 during introducti...
Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals is greeted by A.J. Green #18 during introductions to the NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium on August 20, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chiefs defeated the Cardinals 17-10. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals checked one more thing off their to-do list Wednesday with nine players earning the rank of team captain.

One of which was Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who for a second straight year will don a “C” on his jersey. It’s a big honor for the signal caller.

“It means a lot. My teammates believe in me, they see me as a captain,” Murray said Wednesday. “Obviously that’s what you expect out of your quarterback but for it to be a thing, for it to happen, it means a lot for me.

“Those guys believe in me, trust in me. To go out and lead them is a huge deal for me, so hoping we can keep it going.”

While Murray’s leadership traits have been called into question at times, those on the field with the quarterback have had nothing but positive things to say on how his role.

Murray may not be the rah-rah type of leader that many envision a team captain to be, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get his point across.

Actions speak louder than words.

“Doing what’s right no matter who’s watching every day, no matter if you’re in front of the team, if you’re not in front of the team just doing what’s right,” Murray said on what it means to be a leader.

“Not cheating any days, taking any reps off. Guys look to me, people look to me, kids look to me, everything. I take all that to heart. I understand when I’m outside people are looking at me, I can’t really do anything outlandish but that’s just not who I am anyways so I understand the role of being a leader.”

Joining Murray and the seven other team captains is safety Budda Baker.

While he wasn’t originally named a captain during preseason last year, Baker was given the badge midway through 2020 following linebacker Chandler Jones’ season-ending biceps injury.

Much like Murray’s philosophy on being a leader, Baker lets his actions speak for themselves.

“Me being a defense player, especially when any young guys or even old guys have any questions on the defense, me being a captain I feel like I should know those answers and I should be able to help them,” Baker said.

“And if I don’t have those answers for whoever it is. Just lead by example, show up to work every day, take it day by day at a time getting better in whatever you feel like you need to get better. … That’s definitely my way of thinking of a captain.”

Murray ‘wouldn’t have it any other way’ on Week 1 road test 

Like half of the other NFL teams, the Arizona Cardinals kick off their season on the road.

They certainly didn’t draw any slouch in a Tennessee Titans team coming off an 11-5 season that ended with a Wild Card berth.

The Week 1 matchup presents a very early test for Arizona. Third-year quarterback Kyler Murray is all for it.

“Honestly, me personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Murray said Wednesday after practice. “I think going on the road just us in a hostile environment … it’s just us out there.

“Probably have a couple fans or whatever but we’re going to war on Sunday. … We’ve worked hard to get to his point … and I know the guys are ready to let it loose.”

Kingsbury confirms Josh Jones will start at RG vs. Titans

If the Cardinals’ Week 1 depth chart wasn’t enough confirmation, head coach Kliff Kingsbury cleared the air regarding the team’s starting right guard Wednesday.

“Josh [Jones] will start the game,” Kingsbury said. “Did a nice job when he had the opportunity. Brian [Winters] didn’t get many training camp practices, but he’s a guy who we know can play at a very high level, and we’re confident in him as well.”

The second-year pro out of Houston may have won the starting job, but that won’t stop Kingsbury from taking a look at other options like Winters or Murray if Jones needs a break or the team is struggling. The head coach is looking for “whichever five gives us the best chance to win that week.”

Jones showed off his athleticism throughout camp, running with the first-team offense more times than not with both Winters and Murray injured for extended periods of time.

The extra work not only gave the coaches a better look at the tackle-turned-guard, but also helped grow more trust with his fellow linemen and more importantly his quarterback.

“We didn’t draft him for him to just sit on the sidelines. … He’s earned it,” Murray said. “I’m excited for him, it’s a great opportunity for him. He’s a young guy and we’ll see what he’s about on Sunday. I know what he’s about but we’ll see for sure.”

EXTRA POINT

– Kingsbury on how the team plans to use both rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore and running back Eno Benjamin in the kick return game:

“We’ll see how the game is going. If both guys have a roll offensively and one guy needs a break, then we’ll swap it that way. We feel very confident in either guy getting touches. So, I could see both guys doing it.”

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O captain, my captain! Kyler Murray, Budda Baker don’t take captaincy lightly