Petzing: Cardinals QB Kyler Murray proving he is a ‘franchise quarterback’

Dec 12, 2023, 2:38 PM

TEMPE — Quarterback Kyler Murray checked off a lot of boxes away from the field for the Arizona Cardinals’ new regime led by general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon as he worked his way back from a torn ACL.

Throughout his rehab process, Murray, Ossenfort, Gannon and offensive coordinator Drew Petzing remained in lockstep with one another despite the relative newness and complete overhaul of offensive philosophy.

Still, there was only so far they could go in this pairing of new and old Cardinals until Murray’s return, which took place in Week 10.

While it’s been a mixed result through four games, Petzing has seen enough on the tape, in the locker room and everywhere else to say that Murray has what it takes to successfully lead this team into the future.

“He is a franchise quarterback,” Petzing said Tuesday, reiterating what he told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on a podcast released Tuesday. “I think just the way he carries himself, the way he plays the game, the way he leads. Just everything about the type of person and player he is warrants that. I think he’s done a really nice job of embracing that and continuing to grow and improve as we talked about and as we want everybody in that room to do.”

“I think he’s done a really nice job of handling an extremely hard situation,” the OC added. “I think what he’s put on tape is really impressive. And then going through that (rehab) process, to learn a new language, to integrate with new teammates and then to jump in the field less than a month ago, I think that’s a really tall task and I think he’s done a great job of handling it and embracing it and making the most out of it.”

Since Murray’s return against the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona is 2-2, tripling the team’s win total in the process.

Multiple things can be true about Murray’s four-game sample size.

Rust has shown up at times, whether it be on errant throws or poor decision-making. The newness of the offense has also been apparent. Sometimes it’s in the form of pre-snap penalties, other times it’s missing reads.

At the end of the day, Murray has given this team another gear as he continues to fine-tune himself in a new offense.

Given all the variables, Murray has completed 60.8% of his passes for 864 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s also ran 23 times for 106 yards and three scores.

We saw the Joshua Dobbs experiment run its course not only in the desert but also in Minnesota after a handful of games at quarterback. It felt like a matter of time before the wheels came off. Rookie Clayton Tune didn’t get a fair look against a stout Cleveland defense, but it was clear from the jump he’s still very much a work in progress.

With Murray starting, those feelings aren’t there — even with a roster in need of a jolt of talent.

That’s not to say improvement can’t be made throughout these last four games. Footwork, Murray’s connection with Hollywood Brown and maintaining a steady flow of rushing attempts are among the biggest items to watch.

But for where this team was not that long ago offensively and where it’s gotten to in four short weeks, optimism is warranted for Petzing and Co.

“I’ve been really excited every time he walks out onto the field on Sunday to watch him go play,” Petzing said. “I think he’s that type of (franchise-altering player), I think he puts in the time to be that type of player, so I don’t think excitement for me is going to change.”

The Kyler Murray questions ‘part of the job’ for Petzing

He hasn’t been on the job long, but Petzing has already fielded his fair share of Murray questions.

And while some can see the practice as a monotonous back and forth, Petzing understands it comes with the territory.

“It’s part of the job. The biggest part of being an NFL coach is trying to put your team in the best position to be successful every single week you step on the field,” the OC said.

“Those questions at every position are going to come up throughout the year, throughout the offseason. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

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