Relationship between Kyler Murray, Gannon built on communication, trust
Nov 22, 2023, 5:10 PM
TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and head coach Jonathan Gannon haven’t known each other long.
Right around nine months, give or take a few days.
But since their first meeting in February as Gannon was heading home following his hiring, the two have quickly formed a close relationship focused around collaboration, trust and most importantly, communication.
“The relationship we have is just anytime if I’m watching the game or if he’s watching the game or if he’s got something on his mind about something he wants to run by me,” Murray said Wednesday.
“He doesn’t have to tell me (expletive). The fact that he comes to me and thinks my opinion matters or whatever, it means a lot. It’s the relationship we built. He trusts me, I trust him. It’s been great.”
#AZCardinals QB Kyler Murray on the relationship he and head coach Jonathan Gannon have built:
“He doesn’t have to tell me (expletive). The fact that he comes to me and thinks my opinion matters, it means a lot. He trusts me, I trust him. It’s been great.”
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) November 22, 2023
And if you needed another example of the duo’s relationship, just check out Gannon’s reaction to Murray firing one deep to Rondale Moore to start last week’s game against the Houston Texans.
Look at how fired up Jonathan Gannon is to have his QB1 back. pic.twitter.com/jLtzmqsX9s
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) November 19, 2023
It’s clear these two are gelling on and off the field.
“He’s wearing me out”
Gannon is all for the open communication between him and his quarterback, though his time on the phone has likely gone up exponentially due to the pair’s desire to win, especially after Sunday’s tough 21-16 loss to the Texans where Murray took full blame for coming up short.
“He’s wearing me out on the plane, at night driving home and this morning,” Gannon said Monday. “I’m sure he wants to play today, but it’s about understanding that it’s not about one guy. It never is.
“But what I’ve learned is he’s ultra-competitive and he wants to do everything he can to help our team win. And I appreciate that. The type of accountability that he has bleeds onto the rest of the team and our team’s been great about it.
The conversations between head coach and signal caller can take place at anytime, anywhere, whether that’s right after Murray watches film with offensive coordinator Drew Petzing and quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork or when Gannon is caught between a gate and a hard place like he was recently.
“I’m glad I have Bluetooth,” Gannon said with a grin. “Then I couldn’t get my gate open, so I’m like, ‘Eh, I’ve got to go.’
“He’s got fire in his gut and that’s cool.”
Putting the best foot forward
Among the many changes Murray’s experienced under the new regime was the change in footwork.
Instead of having his right foot up — something he’s done throughout his football career — Petzing and Woolfork threw a bit of curveball the former baseball player’s way with the implementation of the left-foot-first offensive philosophy.
Naturally, switching something up that had been repped one way over and over again for years and years is going to take some time to drop the old tendencies for the new ones.
Murray likes where he’s at in his progression from right to left, though still has some mental gymnastics from time to time.
“It was awkward, it was like (how skateboarders skate goofy),” Murray said. “For me, I’d been doing that for 15-plus years, right foot up. Now having to switch, luckily, I’m coordinated enough to get it down.
“It’s still kind of a mind trick in my head with the foot and the drops that I’ve been doing my whole life and having to time them up now to what they’re wanting. But it’s been good so far.”
The next step(s)
For most of the offseason and regular season, it was all about the next steps in Murray’s rehab as he worked his way back from a torn ACL suffered last December.
Now healthy, the next step in Murray’s career is simple: Win and win a lot.
“It’s all I really play for,” Murray said. “There’s no other answer than to win a Super Bowl. That’s the goal, to get to the Super Bowl and win it.
“Obviously, we got to take it one day at a time right now, our record doesn’t speak that, but take it one day at a time, get better each and every week. That’s the goal right now.”
Under center enjoyment
Since Murray has returned to action, the Cardinals have seen a decrease in plays ran from under center, with Petzing and Co. opting for more work out of shotgun.
That doesn’t mean Murray isn’t a fan or doesn’t realize the benefits of it.
“I enjoy (playing under center),” Murray said. “I played shotgun most of my time in the league, college, high school, but it’s a different look for the defense. I enjoy it.”