Kyler Murray has officially arrived as a top-3 NFL quarterback

(Photo by Michael Chow via Imagn Content Services) Kyler Murray
(Photo by Michael Chow via Imagn Content Services) Kyler Murray /

The Arizona Cardinals officially have a franchise quarterback and his name is Kyler Muray.

Early into his third season as quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, the NFL’s oldest team, Kyler Murray has developed not only into a franchise quarterback, but he’s one of the top-three signal-callers in the league right now.

Murray has been otherworldly through two games. So far, he has shown that he can lead big road upsets and survive when he needs to. Murray has shown he can do it all on the ground and through the air. Dare I say Murray is approaching prime Michael Vick numbers. But who else is there to compare to?

His biggest help might be the receivers that were brought in to make life easier for the quarterback this year.

Arizona wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins continues to be one of the best in the league and contributions from rookie Rondale Moore and A.J. Green have helped Murray’s YAC rate increase. Given the quarterback’s current pace (179.5 YAC/game), it would set a record for himself by almost 700 yards.

This means that he’s doing less with the ball from his standpoint, the receivers are getting more efficient, and they are helping the Cardinals score more points (72 points in two games).

Kliff Kingsbury helping Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray trend away from the college playbook

Count this as a good thing. Some of Murray’s success this season is due to the fact that head coach Kliff Kingsbury is running fewer RPO play-calls. Kingsbury’s efforts have also kept Murray more upright.

Taking a look at the advanced passing stats from Pro Football Reference, we can see the exact reasons for this astronomical increase.

  1. Murray’s bad throw rate is six percent lower this year
  2. His pressure rate is down five percent from his rookie year, only pressured on 15 percent of throws as compared to around 20 percent.
  3. Murray has no completions on RPO’s this year, maybe a sign that Kingsbury is evolving as a coach and getting the young quarterback to be a pure pocket passer

Arizona’s acquisition of center Rodney Hudson during the offseason is amplified here in the pressure rate dropping. Despite the early amount of penalties on the offensive line, they did well enough to get the team to a 2-0 start.

It’s quite the turnaround for Murray and Kingsbury. The last time this team started 3-0 was in 2014 when the team got off to a 4-0 start before losing to the Denver Broncos and they rode late into the season with a 9-1 record.

The only NFL quarterbacks better than Murray right now are Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. It’s officially time to put Aaron Rodgers outside the top-five as it looks like he’s not the same player he used to be.

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If Murray and the Cardinals can soundly beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, then they’ll have the momentum needed to finally beat Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams for once.