Cardinals QB Kyler Murray is this season’s breakout QB
By: Jason Willis
For the last several years we have seen a young quarterback come into the season with questions and go on to take a massive leap. In 2018 we of course got to witness the emergence of Patrick Mahomes and his MVP season. In 2019 it was Lamar Jackson who proved critics wrong by leading an unstoppable Ravens offense and winning an MVP award of his own. Atlas, 2020 belonged to the Bills Josh Allen who finally put it all together to become an elite passer. In 2021, that player will be Kyler Murray.
In 2020, Kyler Murray had a stellar season. With 3,971 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions through the air and 819 yards rushing, and eleven more scores, he was a darling of the fantasy football community. However, from an on-field standpoint, it was imperative that he limited the mistakes, and take advantage of more opportunities. In 2021 not only has he done these things, but he also has improved on areas that were already a strength.
Much like the other players mentioned who took drastic leaps forward, Kyler is an incredible athlete. Early on, this athleticism dominated his playstyle whereas now, it accentuates it.
This play exhibits it well. As the pass rush closes in Murray is athletic enough to escape the rush but stays poised and keeps his eyes downfield. In doing so, he is able to find Rondale Moore of a long touchdown. In years past, a play like this likely turns into a sack as Murray tries to run. Instead, it’s a huge play.
Perhaps the only thing that could truly stop Kyler from achieving his potential is his head coach. Simply, Kliff Kingsbury is not an NFL-level play-caller. As such, much of the Cardinals offense comes from the former number one overall pick just improvising. If the Cardinals and Kyler are truly going to take the next step, they need more from their head coach.
As the season moves forward, time will tell if Murray can maintain this level of play. Currently, he has 1,005 yards passing with seven scores and three more on the ground. If this pace continues, he would finish 2021 with over 5,000 yards passing and over 35 touchdowns. While these numbers might not stay true, the talks of MVP are already ringing across the NFL. With the Cardinals sitting at 3-0 on the back of the Heisman winners’ play, who can blame them for talking?
Kyler Murray certainly still has more room to develop his game. However, just a few years ago we were all pretty convinced he would be the “shortstop for the Oakland A’s”. One of the most fun and exciting young players in the game today, 2022 is looking to be the year Murray takes over.