Outside noise: Kyler Murray gets what Justin Fields is going through

Dec 22, 2023, 2:30 PM

TEMPE — There are quite a few parallels between Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and Chicago Bears signal caller Justin Fields.

They both went in the first round of their respective NFL Drafts, can make defenders miss with ease and can cause defenses absolute fits on the ground and through the air.

They’re also the two most polarizing figures on their respective teams by a mile.

The chatter around moving on from Fields has only grown in 2023, with many calling for a change under center with one of the team’s top picks in the April draft.

That’s not to say there isn’t a steady flow of Fields believers in Chicago, though the noise to switch things up is audibly louder from the outside looking in on the Windy City.

“I don’t know as far as if it’s unwarranted or warranted or what’s going on over there. I don’t know,” Murray said Wednesday. “I think when you’re not winning, everybody wants to look for the next thing, but the guys in the locker room … those guys I think they believe in him. That’s really all you can ask for (that) the guys that you’re going to war with believe in you.

“For him, I’m sure he’s trying to prove himself every time he touches the field. In this profession, football, basketball, baseball, it doesn’t matter, they’re trying to replace you in a sense. It’s on you to make them realize or make them understand what type of player you are and that they’ve got something in you.”

Murray knows more than most when it comes to the back and forth of being a franchise quarterback on an under-performing team.

Just two offseasons ago, Murray and the Cardinals were at the center of the national spotlight over his contract extension and the back and forth that came along with it.

Trade talk ran rampant throughout the offseason until the ink was dry on the extension.

Even then, the chatter remained over the signal caller’s future in the desert. Did they spend too much? Can he actually lead this team to a Super Bowl? The talk jumped another level when Murray went down with a torn ACL late last season and continues to be a topic for discussion given Arizona’s bounty of draft picks, highlighted by a projected No. 3 pick.

But the past is the past to Murray, who doesn’t feel the Cardinals’ new regime is searching for its next franchise quarterback and is solely worried about “playing football.”

On Fields’ side of things, the Bears quarterback should post career marks this season if he can throw for 267 more yards, four scores and one or fewer interceptions. He’s currently completing a career high 61.4% of his throws for 1,976 yards and 14 touchdowns to eight interceptions with three games to play.

And as mentioned before, Fields brings another element to Chicago’s running game that not many QBs can, pacing all Bears runners in yards with 488 and is tied for second in touchdowns with two.

So regardless of how the national spotlight looks on Fields at the moment, head coach Jonathan Gannon isn’t underestimating the third-year signal caller.

“He’s extremely mobile, he’s hard to tackle, and his extension of plays is very productive, so when you have to design a plan for that type of skill set at quarterback, it makes it very challenging. We’ve got to do a good job in the run and pass game; the run game where he’s involved and the run game where he is not.

“Then in the pass game, you’ve got to mix your rush and coverage the right way to affect him because he can beat you when the ball comes out on time, and he can beat you when the ball doesn’t come out on time. There are some guys that can do that, but there’s not a ton of them. He’s one of those guys. … I’ve been a part of games where he’s broken six tackles on one play, literally. He’s a productive player that’s a weapon and he is hard to defend.”

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