ARIZONA CARDINALS

GM: Cardinals in ‘next step’ of Kyler Murray’s timeline to play a game

Oct 20, 2023, 12:34 PM | Updated: 12:34 pm

Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort looks on...

General manager Monti Ossenfort of the Arizona Cardinals walks on the field before the NFL game against the Denver Broncos at State Farm Stadium on August 11, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Kyler Murray’s timeline to return from his knee injury will come in the next three weeks, barring setbacks. Inside the Arizona Cardinals’ front office, it’s about taking stock of the situation in increments.

There are boxes to check behind Murray looking like himself physically. And it goes beyond whether he’s already gotten rid of any apprehension about playing like his old self on the knee that underwent ACL surgery.

“It’s really just the next step in the process,” Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort said Friday on Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke. “It was great to see him back out on the field, to be able to throw to live receivers, to throw to our receivers.

“I think there’s a couple components to (his return),” Ossenfort said. “We have to remember, it’s close to 10 and a half, 11 months since Kyler’s played live football. A lot’s happened since then. We’ve had a new staff, a new offense and things have been changed. Terminology has been changed, there’s been new teammates Kyler hasn’t thrown to before. … I can’t give you an exact time of when that’ll be.”

Quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork said Friday that Murray is mostly running the offense with the 2s against Arizona’s starting defense in practices.

Running backs stepping in

Arizona’s first performance without starting running back James Conner ended somewhat promising regarding the running game — at least for a strong first half in a 26-9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Keaontay Ingram got the most carries with 10 for 40 yards and rookie Emari Demercado led the Cardinals’ backs with 33 snaps.

Ingram had 28, while practice squad elevation Damien Williams played 13 offensive plays. He took a carry in eight of those and posted a healthy 36 yards on 4.5 yards per carry.

Williams, the 221-pound player in his ninth NFL season, could see a bump in time on the field with that performance, according to the general manager.

“He showed the ability last week to make one cut and get downhill,” Ossenfort said. “When he gets downhill, he’s a load. There’s a possibility he’ll have more opportunities this week along with Keaontay and Emari.”

Cardinals GM with a midseason grade

Ossenfort said the Cardinals are happy that the cultural changes have shown up in the on-the-field effort. First-year head coach Jonathan Gannon is watching his players finish plays.

“We’re not happy with a 1-5 record right now. Ultimately you are what your record says you are. We’ve been in games, there’s been several one-score games or one-score games late in games, but we have to get over the hump,” he said.

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