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A Franchise QB Like Kyler 'Good For Head Coaches, Typically'

Gannon still wants Murray focused on health first, then offense

While the Cardinals get set to start the season with a backup quarterback, the at-least-four-week-wait for the starting quarterback goes on.

While there still is no set timeline for Kyler Murray's return, and the Cardinals and Jonathan Gannon aren't getting specific, Gannon did make it clear he looks forward to Murray getting on the field this season.

"When he is mentally and physically ready to play he'll play," Gannon said. "I know he's a franchise quarterback. Those are good for head coaches, typically."

For all the conversation about Murray and his future in Arizona -- and that's been a popular topic nationally -- the reality is the best case scenario is that Murray returns to be the guy who was trending up in his career, the dynamic playmaker who has been to two Pro Bowls. His contract is large, yes, but soon it will be outpaced by a number of deals. Such is the cost of a franchise QB. And if he returns to stardom, the Cardinals have so much more flexibility in the draft picks they have collected.

In the meantime, Gannon was more verbose about Murray's path thus far, and noting that while Murray has to prepare to play, he has to prepare his body more importantly.

"The number one bucket that he has to keep improving is his health first," Gannon said. "He has football as well, but knowing you only get one cup a day, where does that energy go? There is a healthy blend to it because he is getting himself ready to play but being mentally and physically ready to play in a game, that takes precedence for me and him and the staff right now.

"I don't want him spending all his time on outside zone when he needs to be improving his flexibility, his explosiveness, his starting, his stopping."

Gannon never had a torn ACL injury, but he did suffer a hip injury that ended his football career while in college. He knows Murray's mindset will be as important when he returns as his physical condition.

"What is his norm is probably changes a little bit and you have to be accepting of that," Gannon said. "But you are just trying to get back to your new norm. I'm proud of him of how he's battled. ... That's a lonely world."

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during the 2023 preseason game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos on Friday, Aug 11, 2023 in Glendale, AZ.