Posted on: November 10, 2023, 11:16h.
Last updated on: November 10, 2023, 12:09h.
Kyler Murray expects to start his first game of the season at quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals this weekend after recovering from a serious knee injury.
The Cardinals (1-8) host the Atlanta Falcons (4-5) on Sunday. Even with Murray expected to play in Week 10, the Cardinals are a +1.5 home underdog against the Falcons.
The Falcons are one of the worst betting teams in the NFL this season, with a 2-7 record against the point spread. The Cardinals have a respectable betting record with a 4-5 ATS clip, considering they’ve won only one game this season.
Murray suffered a noncontact knee injury last December against the New England Patriots and underwent reconstructive surgery to repair a torn ACL in January.
I’m kind of emotionless,” Murray said in a recent press conference. “Not trying to get too high, get too low. It’s been a long, long 10 months.”
Murray takes over with the Cardinals amidst a six-game losing streak. The Cardinals upset the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3 after they lost close matchups in the first two games of the season. The victory against Dallas was their first and only win of the season.
The Cardinals shook up the organization in the off-season. They fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury and parted ways with general manager Steve Keim. They hired Jonathan Gannon, the former defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, to replace Kingsbury. They also tapped Monti Ossenfort to take over as their new general manager.
Cardinals QB Shuffle
The Cardinals shuffled quarterbacks before the regular season began. Veteran Colt McCoy started two preseason games before the Cardinals went in a different direction at quarterback. The Cardinals cut McCoy and acquired Josh Dobbs in a trade with the Cleveland Browns just before the season began.
Dobbs went 1-7 as a starter before the Cardinals traded him to the Minnesota Vikings after Kirk Cousins went down with a torn Achilles.
Rookie Clayton Tune was the backup quarterback behind Dobbs. After Dobbs headed to the Twin Cities in a trade, Tune earned his first start in Week 9. The Browns shut out the Cardinals, 27-0 last week, and Tune struggled in his NFL debut.
Tune will return to his role as a backup in Week 10 with Murray slated as the starter.
Without Murray, the Cardinal have the fifth-lowest scoring offense in the NFL, averaging 16.8 points per game. Their aerial attack generated only 162.7 yards per game, which is the second-worst in the NFL.
The New York Giants recently lost quarterback Daniel Jones to a season-ending ACL injury, and they’re the only team that averages fewer passing yards (155.0) than the Cardinals.
Murray is eager to get back into the lineup and justify his exorbitant salary. Before the 2022 season began, Murray signed a five-year contract extension worth $230.5 million.
Murray Thrilled to Get off Injured Reserve
Murray gets a chance to play his first game under Gannon. Former head coach Kingsbury and Murray clashed at different moments during their tenure together.
“We see things the same way,” Murray said about Gannon. “The competitiveness is there, and he loves the game. I know he loves the game. He understands the game. We just see eye to eye.”
Gannon wanted fans to remain cautious and not expect Murray to look like his former self in his first game back.
We got to be willing to understand that it might not look like Kyler, and he’s got a good expectation of that,” Gannon told reporters on Monday.
In his first four seasons in Arizona, Murray started 54 games and posted a 25-31-1 record. Over his career, Murray has 84 passing touchdowns and 23 rushing touchdowns.
Prior to his injury last season, Murray threw for 14 touchdowns and 2,368 yards in 11 games. He had a completion rate of 66.4% and tossed seven interceptions. He also rushed for three touchdowns.
Murray passed for at least 3,700 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of his first three seasons. In 2020, Murray posted the best season of his career with 3,971 passing yards and 26 touchdowns. He also scored 11 rushing touchdowns and racked up 819 rushing yards in 133 carries that season.
The Cardinals selected Murray with the #1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was a two-sport star at Oklahoma who had also been drafted by the Oakland A’s. He decided to play in the NFL instead of toiling in the A’s minor-league system.