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For Steve Keim, Confidence In Kyler Murray At A High Point

Quarterback says team's struggles at end of season serve as motivation

Quarterback Kyler Murray (1) talks to fellow QB Colt McCoy and quarterbacks coach Cam Turner during a minicamp practice.
Quarterback Kyler Murray (1) talks to fellow QB Colt McCoy and quarterbacks coach Cam Turner during a minicamp practice.

Year One, of course, Kyler Murray was a rookie.

Year Two, it was about the steps forward he could make.

But now, with so many other parts of the roster that needed and continue to need tending, it makes sense that the quarterback no longer takes up as much headspace for GM Steve Keim.

"Because it's arguably the most important position on the field, you always put some time and effort into that position," Keim said. "(But) I would say my confidence at the position and in general is at a real high."

When Keim was first hired as general manager in 2013, the goal was always to find a long-term quarterback. The Cards did well in the short term when acquiring Carson Palmer in trade, but the equation has finally changed.

"Carson Palmer was a guy who excited us and did all the right things," Keim said. "And then there were some things, as time went on from a durability standpoint, you were concerned if he could stay healthy. But he played at a high level and did a lot of things, was a great leader.

"Now, with a guy like Kyler Murray, the thing that is so exciting for me is having the opportunity to build around a young player, a guy you can grow with as an organization and as a roster. And there are different things you can do, especially with a rookie contract, as opposed to a veteran who is making a considerable part of your salary cap."

Murray still has improving left to do. He isn't quite as plug-and-play-at-a-high-level in his career as say, an Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. But he is getting closer.

That's all Keim is looking for now – continued growth. Through two years, Murray's efforts to earn him NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and then a Pro Bowl nod last season put the tangible on what Keim sees from his QB.

The wins haven't yet come in the amount hoped, but that is driving Murray most of all.

"Emotionally (last season) was definitely frustrating, especially for a guy like me," Murray said. "I want to win. Not going to the playoffs is weird for me. I know it's the NFL and I haven't been yet, but … I've always played past the regular season, in every sport. It's different. I am definitely not looking to get used to that.

"It's definitely upsetting, lot of anger and frustrating when you are losing those games you think you should win. At the same time, I'm a self-motivated guy. I take all that as motivation."

Keim believes the addition of veteran Colt McCoy not only stabilizes the position in case of injury, but also will help in the quarterbacks room, where Cam Turner – who already had a good relationship with Murray – takes over as quarterbacks coach.

Kliff Kingsbury was spending less time with the quarterbacks at offseason practices as the past, preferring instead to be more all-encompassing as individual drills were held. That too shows confidence not only in Turner but where Murray stands in his learning curve.

"It's the little things," Keim said. "Whether it is seeing the field or playing with a little more consistency. Knowing we have a guy who is a game-changer and a special player, he is a rare competitor. I have no question he will continue to grow and develop in all those areas."

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