No ‘I’ in ‘Kyler’: Murray focused on team success over personal accolades

Sep 29, 2021, 7:31 PM | Updated: 7:34 pm

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the playing of the national anthem prior t...

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the playing of the national anthem prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on September 26, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

TEMPE — We’re only three weeks into the NFL season and quarterback Kyler Murray is already being mentioned as an MVP candidate along with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady, just to name a few.

The hype train started rolling in Week 1 and hasn’t slowed down for the signal caller, who has shown off his accuracy and dynamic play-making early on Year 3.

Murray sits in the top 5 among NFL signal callers in passing yards (1,005), completion percentage (76.5%) and passing touchdowns (7). He is tied for third in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (3) and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 2.

The numbers are great, but there’s two that mean much more to the signal caller; 3-0.

“What is it, Week 4? It is what it is,” Murray said after practice Wednesday. “It’s a long season and I was always raised and taught that if you win as a team, the individual accolades will come.

“That’s how I treated it in high school, that’s how I treated it when I won the Heisman, same thing for now. I’m not really too worried about MVP or anything like that.”

It appears Murray’s philosophy is pouring over to the wide receivers room.

Among the quarterback’s improvements this year has been his ability to spread the wealth.

Five pass catchers have seen at least 15 targets come their way through three games, with A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins pacing the team with 18 apiece, followed by Christian Kirk and Chase Edmonds at 17 each.

Edmonds leads the way in receptions (17), Kirk has the most receiving yards (239) and Hopkins has found paydirt a team-high three times. The numbers speak to how effectively Murray is distributing the football.

“He’s going where his reads take him,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday. “We know we have a dynamic group of receivers and when were scripting during the week we try to account for that and make sure guys are getting touches and trying to maximize what they do best.”

Cardinals ‘hopeful’ on Gardeck’s return next week; Phillips progressing

One of the Cardinals’ roster moves made Wednesday morning involved designating Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck from the injured reserve.

After dealing with a hand injury, Gardeck was back out on the practice field Wednesday, an even more positive sign that the linebacker is close to returning to action.

“We’re not sure about [Gardeck returning to the team in a full capacity] this week, but I would say hopefully by next week,” Kingsbury said Wednesday.

Gardeck has yet to play this year after returning from an ACL tear only to suffer a hand injury that placed him on the IR ahead of Week 1.

As for Jordan Phillips, the defensive lineman’s return from injured reserve is much more murky.

“Still progressing,” Kingsbury said. “Not sure exactly [on a timeline]. Hopefully sooner than later.”

Phillips was placed on the IR with an undisclosed injury early this month and has yet to take a snap this season. Since signing a three-year deal with Arizona last offseason, Phillips has played in just nine games as a Cardinal.

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