CARDINALS CORNER

Kyler Murray: ‘Sky’s the limit’ with new Cardinals regime

Jul 13, 2023, 9:51 PM | Updated: Jul 14, 2023, 5:08 pm

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has been locked in on completing his rehab from a torn ACL suffered late last season.

But while he’s focused on the task at hand, hoping to achieve his lofty goal of returning in Week 1, the signal caller hasn’t been oblivious to what’s going on around him.

For the first time in his career, he’s experiencing a near overhaul in coaching staff and front office along with a new philosophy and offensive identity. It’s easily the biggest change the QB has gone through since joining the Cardinals as a 2019 No. 1 overall pick.

And from the sounds of it, Murray is feeling refreshed with the transformation taking place inside the organization.

He said as much in the latest episode of Cardinals Flight Plan, which chronicled the signal caller’s journey back from his ACL tear so far and where his mindset is ahead of Year 5.

“As far as the chip on my shoulder and what type of energy I’m coming in with this season, I feel free in a sense, especially with the change upstairs and the organization,” Murray said. “I feel like they’ve done a great job since they came in. Holding people accountable, the leadership. … The way we’re going, I feel like personally, the sky’s the limit.

“It’s pretty different for me, but it’s been seamless,” the QB added. “Me and (Jonathan Gannon) hit it off. He sees things the way I see things. He can relate to the guys and he genuinely feels like he believes in the guys and trying to get them better, me better. I feel like you’ll run through a wall for that type of guy and that’s the type of energy that he brings.”

It was a refreshing change of pace from Murray less than a year removed from a dismal 2022 campaign that ended with a 4-13 record and the franchise quarterback on the sideline.

It was a fall from grace for a team that had progressed year-over-year with Murray running the show.

A rocky start to the year did the QB and the Cardinals no favors.

“I feel since I’ve been in the league, all we’ve done is go up,” Murray said as his knee was getting worked on by a trainer. “I got better every year. And then to hit a wall in Year 4, especially after going through the whole contract thing, I got COVID-19 in camp, I hurt my wrist in camp, so I missed a lot of those reps.

“Then trying to play catch up during the season, it was like a compilation of (expletive) things going on. … I’ve done everything right as far as off the field, on the field. I try to treat people the right way but it is what it is. I think winning cures all and it’s been tough to do that with some of the circumstances we had to deal with.”

Kyler Murray trusts the process

Aside from his thoughts on the coaching staff, Murray dove into the ins and outs surrounding his knee injury suffered last December in a loss to the New England Patriots.

The QB, who has stayed relatively healthy for most of his career, knew from the moment he hit the ground that something was wrong.

“I never felt that before. I was just on my back looking up and it was like everybody was … hazed out. I was crying once we were carted off the field and then it all kind of hit me. I’m one of those people that believes everything happens for a reason. But I did not know (the ACL tore).”

Murray ended up getting surgery Jan. 3. A day later, he was back in the training room to begin the process of getting back to full strength.

“Nobody can really prepare you for how that (expletive) is going to feel. After the injury happened, I ‘prehabbed’ for two weeks or whatever and that wasn’t that bad. After the surgery, that first two weeks was terrible. Moving was tough. You’re just kind of helpless.”

Luckily for Murray, the quarterback had a number of people in his corner to help him get through the tough times of recovery.

That included his father, Kevin Murray, who has doubled as a receiving target to help keep his son’s arm fresh during the rehab process.

“It’s all about your mindset, nobody’s going to feel sorry for you,” Kevin Murray said. “He’ll get better as a result from not only the injury but how they played last year.

“This is the first time he’s ever been injured, first time he’s ever left the field on a cart, first time he’s ever had that feeling. He’s got new leadership in town and he’s excited about that and the best of Kyler is yet to come.”

Murray is still without a concrete timeline, though has set his own goal of a Week 1 return.

Back to Norman

Among the trips out of state throughout the episode, one in particular held a special place in Murray’s heart — his return to Oklahoma for the unveiling of his Heisman Trophy statue.

And right there to take it all in was a contingent of Cardinals that included Gannon and new general manager Monti Ossenfort, among others.

Their presence wasn’t lost on Murray.

“Just having them there, the support off rip, they’ve only been in the building for maybe a month or so,” Murray said.

“For them to fly out to Norman in the middle of nowhere during the draft process to come see me and my statue get put up, that was a big deal.”

Israel Woolfork making an impact

Away from his rehab, Murray also has a new offense to learn.

And while he hasn’t been able to take part in organized team activities or minicamp this offseason, the QB is still processing the new scheme from a mental standpoint.

New quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork has been among those really helping Murray grasp the new offense.

“This is a totally new offense, new system, terminology but I’m picking it up pretty quickly. He’s been a main part of me picking it up, Woolfork,” as well as passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Drew Terrell and offensive quality control coach Connor Senger, the quarterback said.

“Seeing the other quarterbacks taking reps and stuff and me getting mental reps, it’s been great,” Murray added. “I think it’s new for everybody. We’re all learning at the same time. It’s not just me.”

Woolfork is entering his first season with the Cardinals after spending two seasons with the Cleveland Browns as part of the Bill Walsh NFL diversity coaching fellowship (2021) and the Bill Willis coaching fellowship (2022).

YOLO

As far as Murray’s hobbies? Those have changed a bit over the QB’s football career.

In addition to getting on the sticks for a session of Call of Duty with the boys, Murray also spoke on his addiction to shopping while also touching on his newfound interest in traveling.

“I’ve never really been able to go sightseeing or stuff like that. I had never been on vacation as a kid. My first vacation I was probably two years into the league. I had never been on vacation just due to football, basketball, baseball,” he said.

“Now that I’m getting older, you only live once. I want to get out and see more and go to different places and experience different things. Nothing crazy.”

Those different places include Hawaii, where Murray still managed to get in rehab work.

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