DAN BICKLEY

Sean Payton is the remedy to Cardinals QB Kyler Murray’s struggles

Jan 10, 2023, 3:14 PM | Updated: Jan 13, 2023, 2:02 pm

Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints on the sidelines before the game against the Atlan...

Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints on the sidelines before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

If Kyler Murray is a problem, Sean Payton is the solution.

Imagine what an authentic, innovative, alpha male, highly demanding, Super Bowl-winning coach might do for our slow-growing franchise quarterback.

Apparently, Payton already has.

“What would I like to see?” Payton said during a television appearance with Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd. “I’d love to see him have a better running game under center. I’d love to see him hand the ball off to another really good player and take a deep breath.

“I want to see him have a few more layups. And I think, when I need those (impact plays from Murray), they are going to come spontaneously, red zone or third down. But I think if we’re counting on those every week, that’s a stressful job.”

In summary, Payton said he would design an offensive package that “suits his talent but takes some of the pressure off of him as well.”

It’s not the first time Payton has implied real interest in Arizona’s head coaching vacancy. His speculative vision for Murray comes after a November appearance on Cowherd’s show where he reminisced about a summer job in St. Louis, when he worked as a Cardinals ball boy.

There is a chance Payton is playing the Cardinals for leverage. Or he truly believes he can design an offense that will unleash the best of Murray on the rest of the NFL. After all, that’s his thing.

Payton is a real mastermind. His specialty is building packages around players, sculpting offenses around the talent at his disposal. Remember, this is the guy that called plays for Drew Brees, produced the best version of Jameis Winston, and fell in love with Taysom Hill.

As a result, his flirtation with Arizona and Murray might be very real. And it might help explain the positive vibes flowing from Michael Bidwill at Monday’s press conference, where the Cardinals owner did not look like a man in distress or someone who had just swallowed an enormous contract for breakfast.

Bidwill took the important steps of firing Kliff Kingsbury and officially clearing out the general manager’s office. He said he has begun his search for Steve Keim’s replacement and seems to understand the magnitude of the moment. He may have also learned one of the former general manager’s greatest tricks:

In times of trouble and fan unrest, make a big splash. Trade for DeAndre Hopkins. Sign J.J. Watt. Pursue Sean Payton at all costs.

Bidwill said repeatedly on Monday that he’s casting a wide net. Hopefully, it’s big enough for a whale.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta mornings from 6-10 a.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7.

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