Cardinals RB Michael Carter: Vibes are growing thanks to Kyler Murray, Arizona leaders

May 22, 2024, 10:58 AM

Michael Carter celebrates a touchdown catch in Philadelphia...

Michael Carter #22 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after a touchdown catch during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 31, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Good vibes can wash away as quickly as a Week 1 loss in the NFL. But as the offseason begins for Arizona Cardinals running back Michael Carter, a role player who has recent perspective playing elsewhere, things just feel right.

Carter joined Arizona last year after a mid-November release from the New York Jets, then averaged 6.8 yards per carry on just 22 touches behind James Conner.

For someone who knows he’s not a starter and knows that draft pick Trey Benson is among a deeper position group coming for leftover snaps, his praise of Arizona’s culture is noted — from several perspectives.

Let’s start from Carter himself.

Carter has labeled this as an offseason of “clarity” despite the uncertainty of his role. But he is comfortable with it, crediting running backs coach Autry Denson for uniting a deep position group and the team’s staff for communicating what it wants out of him.

“What I meant by (clarity) was I think there’s been a good amount of communication between me and the team and my agent and stuff,” Carter said. “I feel like I have an understanding of what the team thinks I can be as a player and a person.”

Distraction-wise, joining the Cardinals has been a 180-degree change from Carter’s time with the Jets, who went through last preseason with the Aaron Rodgers hoopla and then struggled in the limelight after the future Hall of Fame quarterback got hurt in the opener.

“I think that the biggest (change) has been — funny enough — I guess the lack thereof of media,” he said. “Here in Arizona, not that it’s not there. I don’t want to start anything. We’re very football-focused.”

Carter said the running back room is united and there would never be “bad blood” despite players competing for snaps.

“That’s not how we work, that’s not how the Cardinals roll,” he said.

But the trickle-down effect that has made a backup like Carter feel confident about his team and his place on it starts from the top. Carter said quarterback Kyler Murray has led by example in his first full offseason of work as a healthy player under head coach Jonathan Gannon.

“I noted to myself that he was like an ultra-competitive cat. The more I’ve actually got to know him, that’s still true … but the more I’ve like got to know him, I don’t think he ever leaves (the facility),” Carter said. “He’s always in here. He’s the freakin’ first person in. I’m sure he’s the last person out.

“Last week, one time I was like, ‘you know what, let me try to be the first person in.’ I think we had a meeting at 9:15 (a.m.), I think I got here at 7:15 maybe. That’s two hours, you know? That Lambo already here.”

Carter feels something good is brewing even this early in camp, where the adjective “voluntary” ahead of organized team activites isn’t needed.

“The way we’ve been working the weight room, the way we’ve been interactive in the meetings, the way that we take it to the field and we let it translate,” he said.

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