Cardinals GM ‘won’t hesitate’ to activate Kyler Murray, downplays USC-ASU scouting

Sep 29, 2023, 12:11 PM | Updated: 2:20 pm

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort (Tyler Drake)...

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort (Tyler Drake)

(Tyler Drake)

It took a weekend to shift the three intertwined narratives about the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback situation: for the franchise face, the replacement starter and a potential draft pick.

A day after top prospect Caleb Williams threw for 322 yards with five total touchdowns to lead his USC Trojans past Arizona State in Tempe, Joshua Dobbs last Sunday led the Cardinals into the win column for the first time in three weeks.

From a national perspective with the Denver Broncos giving up 70 points and the Chicago Bears floundering, all of that slid Arizona away from tanking talk and toward a narrative about being a surprise.

Quarterback Kyler Murray, on the physically unable to perform list due to his ACL recovery, by rule must miss at least one more game before he’s eligible to return to practice. But the Week 3 win brought up this point: If healthy, the Cardinals arguably could be 3-0.

Murray’s social media post a week prior reading “soon” made it seem his return might not be in the middle or end of the year as many presumed. And Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort’s words with Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Friday lean the Cardinals even further away from the assertion that it’s best if Murray is sidelined much longer — both to preserve his health and to push Arizona toward a higher draft position.

“Kyler is progressing physically, he is continuing to prepare himself mentally,” Ossenfort told Wolf & Luke. “And we’re getting closer to that time when he’s going to be able to go out there and join his teammates in practice. When he’s ready to do that, we won’t hesitate to do that.

“I would say … is we can see a light where we’re heading. I don’t think we’re quite ready to announce when that’s going to be but we are very pleased with Kyler’s progress, where he’s going right now.”

Dobbs has led Arizona to a 1-2 record and completed 72% of his passes for 549 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also rushed for 93 yards on 12 carries, including a touchdown.

The Cardinals traded for Dobbs weeks before the regular season began with Ossenfort having familiarity with the quarterback. Both were with the Tennessee Titans last year, and Dobbs made his first two NFL starts there, getting to know the then-director of player personnel.

Dobbs has improved in each of his three games with Arizona so far, and all have been relatively competitive.

But Ossenfort’s job requires farsightedness and preparation for the seasons ahead. He attended the Saturday game between USC and ASU to watch Williams and other prospects.

“I know a lot was made of I was going to see Caleb,” he said. “Yeah, that’s part of the job. USC is loaded with a bunch of other good players, there’s a reason they’re ranked a top-five team in the country. The week before, Fresno had a couple guys to look at.

“Arizona State, I’ve seen them twice now and they have guys to look at. Tomorrow, I’m going to a game at Stanford, Oregon’s playing at Stanford.”

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