Cardinals’ Ossenfort: Kyler Murray jumped in ‘feet-first’ under new regime

Nov 17, 2023, 1:19 PM

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray in debut vs. Falcons after ACL injury...

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a touchdown with teammates against the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter at State Farm Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images)

Quarterback Kyler Murray admitted that he’s a different person coming off of his ACL tear, the first major roadblock of his football life dating all the way back through a historic high school career.

The narrative machine, whether it’s based on reality or not, is shifting in his favor.

To Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort, there hasn’t been a noticeable change in narratives or reality regarding his quarterback, who made his debut post-injury on Sunday with 249 passing yards, 33 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, plus a pick.

Granted, Ossenfort has only been around 11 months.

“I’ve heard all those things,” the general manager said when he was asked about Murray’s growth on Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke. “I really can’t speak on that. I wasn’t here. I wasn’t around Kyler to see what he was like, what he wasn’t like. All I can speak on is that since the day that I got here, all I’ve seen is a guy who’s focused, dedicated, done everything we’ve asked him to do and more.

“Going way back into the spring when he couldn’t do everything physically, the things he could do were mental. To see him really jump feet-first and attack the mental part of the game during that time and continuing to build on that during training camp and the season, Kyler’s been great. Kyler’s been great from the start, from when I got here.”

By appearances, Murray bought in from the start of Ossenfort’s and head coach Jonathan Gannon’s tenures. He stayed in Arizona to work out and rehab — but the quarterback also reflected his commitment to leading the Cardinals a summer after, during contractual talks, he deleted team references from his social media accounts.

Over his career, Murray had gone from potential MVP candidate just a few years back to one of the many scapegoats for the Cardinals’ failures at the end of the Kliff Kingsbury and Steve Keim eras. It came with Call Of Duty jokes and highlights of him showing frustration during games in ways that were more mature than many of the fans who criticized him.

But with a big contract locking him in place before his ACL injury, Murray had the chance to pull himself out of his worst football moment in Arizona.

“Kyler has put in so much time to work himself back and to get himself to a point both physically and mentally to go out and do the things he has done his whole career,” Ossenfort said.

“We can’t forget here this is a brand new offense with a brand new coaching staff. Kyler just had really three weeks of practice leading up to the game where he was actually throwing to live receivers and calling plays in the huddle and making adjustments and making reads. That’s the hardest part of the quarterback position. And so to see Kyler go out there and operate — and sure it wasn’t perfect … I think it was a positive step, a step in the right direction.”

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