CARDINALS CORNER

Kyler Murray on track to make return, start for Arizona Cardinals vs. Falcons

Nov 6, 2023, 2:54 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2023, 11:55 am

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is on track to make his 2023 debut on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons if all goes well in the buildup of the week, head coach Jonathan Gannon said Monday.

Murray was activated off the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, shortly before the signal caller’s 21-day practice window came to a close, officially joining the 53-man roster.

Sunday would be Murray’s first game since he tore his ACL in a December loss to the New England Patriots. Arizona has a 1-8 record without him. Murray would be able to play eight total games this season if he indeed is good to go on Sunday.

In the first two weeks of his return to the practice field, Murray spent most of his time working with backups and practice squad players against Arizona’s starting defense. He was also seeing some work with the first-team offense, per quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork.

But while his work during the open portion largely didn’t change, his designation on the injury report did. After practicing in a limited fashion the first week back, Murray has since turned in two weeks of full participation.

“He’s fully healthy,” Gannon said last week, adding he didn’t make the change for gamesmanship purposes. “Just the truth … on the injury report.”

Then came the Monday after Arizona’s offense sputtered through most of a 31-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago, when Gannon announced quarterback Joshua Dobbs was no longer the starter and instead it would be either Murray or Clayton Tune getting the nod in Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns.

A day later, Dobbs was removed from the roster entirely via a trade with the Minnesota Vikings that brought back a 2024 sixth-round pick. The Cardinals also shipped out a conditional seventh-round pick that they would get back if Dobbs starts half of Minnesota’s remaining games.

Despite a rough 27-0 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday with 58 yards of total offense, Arizona has mostly been competitive this season and would surely have had a better record with QB1 back under center.

“Ball jumps off of his hand,” Gannon said of Murray after a week of practice. “He’s explosive getting out of the pocket, he’s accurate, got good command of the offense right now. He threads the needle pretty well on certain throws.”

It was an especially rough time for the aforementioned Dobbs, who was added via trade in August, before getting dealt this week. Through eight games played, the Cardinals were among the bottom five NFL teams in passing yards per game with 180.9 and are averaging a less-than-stellar 18.9 points per game.

After taking noticeable steps forward over the first few weeks of action, Dobbs struggled in the games after, completing 58.7% of his throws for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns to five interceptions the past five games. He also ran for 165 yards and two scores on 35 carries but coughed up the rock five times, losing it twice.

Tune got the nod against Cleveland but struggled immensely with 58 yards and two interceptions on 55% passing. He ran for 28 more yards on five carries.

Not having starting running back James Conner for multiple weeks due to a knee issue hasn’t helped matters, either.

The running back has missed the past four games after being placed on injured reserve and the Cardinals reportedly hope to open his practice window this week.

Arizona’s roster moves on Tuesday outside of Murray’s activation included placing cornerback Bobby Price on injured reserve and releasing wide receiver Daniel Arias from the practice squad.

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