Arizona Cardinals: The next eight games will define the real Kyler Murray

The Arizona Cardinals finally have Kyler Murray back, but the final eight games of the season will serve as the polarizing quarterback’s ultimate test.
Baltimore Ravens v Arizona Cardinals
Baltimore Ravens v Arizona Cardinals / Norm Hall/GettyImages

With Kyler Murray returning this weekend to lead the Arizona Cardinals, he needs to prove that he is more than the player that can put up Pro Bowl-caliber performances. We know what Murray can do for your fantasy football team when he gets hot, but it’s the reality that matters here. 

Throughout his career Murray has struggled to show leadership ability and he has also been below-average in elevating subpar units to win games. This weekend is his first of what should be eight chances to show that he can be what some of the league’s best quarterbacks like Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence (two former number one overall picks) are. 

If he can, then we can wave off the previous four seasons as it will show us that Murray is no longer that me-first player who seemed to put blame on others before himself every time a bad play occurred. A player whose body language showed us he was incapable of leading, and that his over-reliance on current Tennessee Titans receiver DeAndre Hopkins was the real catalyst behind his overall success.

Arizona Cardinals got eight games to see what they have in Murray

The good news is that the Cardinals finally have real leaders in place with head coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort. Also, Murray will be playing in an offense under a coordinator in Drew Petzing, who was flexible enough to specifically design an offense for him; something former head coach Kliff Kingsbury was ill-equipped for thanks to his insistence on the “Air Raid” offense. 

Throughout the offseason, the preseason, and the regular season, Murray has been more engaged, and we can attribute that to the organization’s leadership. But, just because he’s looked more interested, it’s something he must prove for the next eight weeks can consistently translate to the field. 

If Murray shows even the slightest hint of negativity, he won’t hear the end of it from fans. His track record from now until January 2024 must be clean every time he steps onto the field. It doesn’t mean Murray can’t make mistakes like ill-advised passes or miscommunication - it will happen, and he must react to such adversity differently than he’s done in the past. 

Overall, Murray will most likely be the guy in 2024 regardless of what happens, but regardless, he still has eight games to show the Arizona Cardinals fan base that he’s the guy if he wants to win over their faith. If not, then the Drake Maye (or Caleb Williams) talks will continue among the Red Sea, even if the odds of the Cards drafting one of them are slim considering Murray’s contract situation.


Source: The Kyler Murray conundrum: How the next 8 games will shape the Cardinals’ future by Jeff Howe, The Athletic