Kyler Murray: 2023 Arizona Cardinals ‘was 1 of my favorite teams to be a part of’

Jan 7, 2024, 8:13 PM | Updated: 11:26 pm

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray looks on...

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (Felisa Cardenas/Arizona Sports)

(Felisa Cardenas/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE — There were quite a few firsts for the Arizona Cardinals throughout Sunday’s tilt against the Seattle Seahawks.

Running back James Conner reached the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his seven-year career.

Head coach Jonathan Gannon threw his first challenge flag of the season (and won).

Unfortunately for JG and Co., the big first the team was hoping to accomplish this week didn’t come to fruition as the Cardinals were unable to pick up their first divisional victory of the season in a 21-20 loss to the Seahawks.

In six NFC West tilts, the Cardinals were on the wrong side of the scoreboard in all of them.

Sunday’s matchup especially stings given how close the Cardinals were to getting the W, only to end up on the losing side of things on a missed Matt Prater field goal as time expired.

But while the result handed Arizona its 13th defeat of the year, the feeling inside the interview room was anything but doom and gloom.

Instead, optimism was bursting at the seams, especially when franchise quarterback Kyler Murray was at the podium.

“Personally, the last two weeks I felt like there wasn’t really nothing that they could do to stop us,” Murray said postgame. “I don’t want to lose, nobody in there wants to lose. Felt like we should have won that game, but at the end of the day, there’s a lot to look forward to. I’m excited about it, I know the guys are excited about it. I trust and believe in Monti (Ossenfort) and JG and what they got going and what they’re building here. Complete 180 and I’m happy for the position that we’re in.”

“It’s refreshing just to have guys upstairs believe in it, they really speak to it and hold everybody accountable,” the QB added. “It trickles down, it starts at the top. I think every great organization, business understands it starts at the top and the guys really believe in what they’re preaching. I’m very confident in what we got going.”

Murray’s abbreviated season off a torn ACL comes to a close with the QB sporting a 3-5 mark as Arizona’s starter. He took clear steps forward in coordinator Drew Petzing’s offense, throwing for 1,799 yards and 10 touchdowns to five interceptions on 65.6% passing. He also added 244 yards and three scores on 44 carries.

But above all else, he’s got leaders of the franchise he unequivocally trusts moving forward on top of seeing the clear path ahead to success, something that clearly wasn’t always the case with the previous regime.

And while he’s been to the NFL playoffs and took the field in some of the biggest high school and college games there are, the 2023 Cardinals have a special place in his heart regardless of the .235 winning percentage.

“There was a lot of adversity, lot of ups and downs, but this team is one of my favorite teams to ever be a part of,” Murray said postgame. “Never any complaining, never any pointing fingers or anything like that, never turned on each other. Kept showing up to work every single day fighting for each other and going hard. Then on Sundays, we left it all out there.”

“They’re ready to come with me”

Gannon has remained “where his feet are” throughout Year 1 as the Cardinals’ head coach.

You’ll rarely catch him living in the past or looking ahead to the future.

On Sunday, however, Gannon peeled back the curtain just a bit on what potentially lies ahead for the franchise.

“I’m proud of those guys,” Gannon said postgame. “They fought all year and went through a lot of adversity. Good things are on the horizon. I told them I’ve never been more enthused going into an offseason in my entire life. They’re ready to come with me.”

“I know what this team can be, a competitive, smart, tough team that’s playing meaningful games right now,” the head coach added. “We laid the standard out, the coaches coached it every day and they took to it. The record isn’t what we want it to be and that falls on me, but the team-first mentality never wavered and I feel really good about moving forward.”

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