Jonathan Gannon excited to hit ground running with QB Kyler Murray

Feb 16, 2023, 1:17 PM | Updated: 1:25 pm
Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE — It was evident the Arizona Cardinals were looking to make a major change in philosophy when it came down to choosing their next head coach.

Just take a look at the list of candidates linked to the team and how a majority of them hailed from a defensive-minded background before opting for former Philadelphia Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon.

But just because Gannon cut his teeth on the opposite side of the football doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an idea of how to get quarterback Kyler Murray back on track. In fact, that was one of the selling points owner Michael Bidwill and general manager Monti Ossenfort spoke on, Gannon’s vision for Arizona’s franchise QB.

If anything, having a head coach that carries an aspect of calling defenses could help the signal caller take that next step in the long run.

And as for the ongoing narrative that Murray was a deterrent in the head-coaching search? Gannon sees him as a top reason for signing on with the organization.

“Obviously played against Kyler this year and it was a unique gameplan to put together, because of his skillset,” Gannon said Thursday. “He’s a problem to defend, because of what he can do. He’s a legit problem for defenses. He has a very unique skillset and that’s what I’m looking forward to, working with him and showing him, ‘Hey, here’s how defenses are going to try to stop you. Here’s what you need to be ready for.’

“These are things we’re going to do with him that’s going to help him move all the way up and down the field and score a bunch of points and be explosive and protect the football.”

Shortly after Gannon was officially hired by the organization, he was able to chat with Murray, who was rehabbing at the team’s training facility. It was one of their first interactions since Gannon first donned the Cardinal red.

On Thursday, the QB was among the 10 or so Cardinals in attendance for the head coach’s introductory press conference.

And interestingly enough, most of the players in attendance came from the offensive side of things, with tight end Zach Ertz, running back James Conner, QB Colt McCoy and offensive linemen Will Hernandez and Josh Jones in the front row, among others.

He may have only had a few conversations with Murray at this point, but Gannon is already coming away impressed by the rehabbing QB’s demeaner.

“You can tell he is super competitive, which you have to be at that spot, and very self-aware, which I thought was really cool,” Gannon said of Murray. “The maturity that he shows when we talk.

“He’s ultimately just like me, wants to get started and do great things and win football games. I think that he knows whatever he needs to do that for the team is what he’ll do. Just really excited about him.”

From first glance, the Gannon-Murray relationship is blossoming just as it should with a new head coach and incumbent franchise QB.

The real question, though, still remains: When will we see Murray among the new-look Cardinals in 2023?

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