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Kyler Murray And The Future Of Being Under Center

Gannon addresses one of most popular topics around quarterback

Quarterback Kyler Murray is expected to be in shotgun less and under center more often with new coach Jonathan Gannon.
Quarterback Kyler Murray is expected to be in shotgun less and under center more often with new coach Jonathan Gannon.

Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon already made clear he had an idea what he wanted to do on offense, even with his background as a defensive coach.

He also made clear he believed quarterback Kyler Murray, who is rehabbing from an ACL injury, was "elite." After so much conversation about Murray's roster presence impacting the Cardinals' coaching search, Gannon told Peter King of NBC Sports, "if Kyler Murray isn't here, I don't take this job."

Gannon also emphasized the offense was going to look "much different" than the one run under Kliff Kingsbury -- including having Murray under center more often.

"I think we can take him to another level and unleash his full skill set," Gannon said. "We're not gonna put him in gun all the time, I'll tell you that. We'll have two significant offenses with his skill set: one being under center and one being in the gun. Then obviously we're gonna do what's comfortable with him. The way to take pressure off the quarterback and the O-line is to put him under center at times."

According to NFL Research, Murray was in the shotgun 92.3 percent of the time the last three seasons, and his 2.9 percent time under center was the lowest of any NFL QB. No QB was in shotgun more than Murray in 2022.

Kingsbury had once said there wasn't anything that could be done under center that couldn't be done in shotgun. Murray has said he's more comfortable in shotgun. But being under center makes it easier to run play-action plays, and Gannon (and incoming offensive coordinator Drew Petzing) sees that potential.

"That's the missing piece I thought they had with Kyler," Gannon said. "They were in gun all the time. When you're in gun all the time, you don't make the defense defend certain play types. Now, when you get him under center, the defense has to defend a lot more type of play types. So there's really two offenses I see us using."


NFL Network reported that the Cardinals would be retaining special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Jeff Rodgers. Rodgers was originally hired by Steve Wilks in 2018 and kept by Kliff Kingsbury in 2019. ESPN reported the Cardinals were hiring Klayton Adams, formerly the Colts tight ends coach who had recently taken a job on Stanford's staff, to be the offensive line coach.