4 min read

Kyler Murray Must Get Back to Being Himself to Get Cardinals on Track

I had heard all kinds of things about Kyler Murray before having a chance to sit down with him over the last couple of weeks when I was able to call the Cardinals' past two games against the Eagles and Seahawks.

The thing that stood out to me initially was despite all the things that I heard, it was pretty clear that Kyler Murray is a very mature individual, and most people know this to a degree, but he absolutely cares about what's going on, and he has a sense of pride about him.

I lived down here in the Dallas area, and Kyler played at Allen High School just outside of Dallas and became a legendary high school player. We all know about what he was able to do at Oklahoma; winning the Heisman Trophy. He was a multi-sport athlete, starring in football and baseball—drafted ninth overall in the 2018 MLB Draft. He's truly a tremendous athlete.


More than any of his physical gifts, he cares about how he's perceived and about being the type of leader who can elevate his team where they need to be. But no matter how much a player wants those things, it ultimately comes down to the way that the player executes on game day. With Murray, it appears that he may be feeling the pressure right now after asking for a large contract extension and receiving his first megadeal worth $230.5 million.

We all know what happened with the public debacle around the clause the Cardinals put in his contract mandating that he watch film. It's pretty clear that Murray studies, but he may be putting too much pressure on himself to make big plays right now. Sometimes it's not just about when he throws, it's also about when he runs. We saw this against Seattle, he got a little bit more of that running going this past week. In Murray's career, the Cardinals are 21-9 in games where he runs six or more times. In games where Murray runs five or less times, the Cardinals are 3-19-1. It's night and day.

That's not to say that Murray needs to be impatient and get out of the pocket just to hit those numbers. But it is those decisions to run the ball when it is available to him that can make a difference. He had a couple of plays last week where it appeared that he could have taken off and reached the first down marker, but he didn't go for it. From having time to speak with him and understanding the way he compares himself to his peers, it may be in his mind that he needs to stay in the pocket like other greats have.

Murray mentioned Tom Brady and the success Brady has had with short receivers and a wide range of pass catchers over the years. Sometimes Murray has this idea that he needs to prove to everyone else that he can play like Brady and these other quarterbacks who operate nearly exclusively out of the pocket. But Murray is one of the most exciting players in football, he should be using that to his advantage.

Far be it for me, never having played the position, and having the luxury of watching these plays from the press box with slowed-down replays that, I don't know how difficult those decisions must be to make in a split second, but making those decisions are why these guys get paid, and that's why they face the mental pressure that they do. So now it's just a question of going out, executing and surrounding himself with players he can elevate because the best quarterbacks always elevate their team.