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Getting Kyler Murray Back On Field Has Cardinals Smiling

Team takes on Falcons with franchise quarterback back behind center

Quarterback Kyler Murray takes a snap in practice this week.
Quarterback Kyler Murray takes a snap in practice this week.

When Hollywood Brown looked across the huddle during practice this week, he didn't just see quarterback Kyler Murray rattle off a play call and clap his hands.

The wide receiver actually thought it was funny because he saw his best friend do it all with a smile on his face.

"It's really good to see him back for himself," Brown said. "Being away from the game is never easy and for him, to see the work he put in and for him to be able to practice with us leading up to the game has been fun."

The Cardinals have had spurts throughout the season that have made those around the organization smile, but few more than Murray's official return on Sunday, when the Cardinals host the Falcons.

"They're excited to get the guy in the huddle," coach Jonathan Gannon said. "We all love the guy."

It certainly does help that Murray is one of the NFL's most explosive players when healthy. Despite the potential boost Murray will bring to the offense, Gannon was very direct when asked if it'll provide a fresh start for the team: "No."

"I told the team today 'You have to approach this week like we're 0-0,'" Gannon added. "That's how we go about our business every week and you can't live in the past."

The Cardinals (1-8) have fallen short much of the season. Murray has the opportunity to make an impact on the field and string together some wins.

"I've seen what's been put into it and I've seen the grind that's been put into it," Murray said. "We've been right there in every single game. It's been unfortunate to have to sit back and watch us go through the pains that we're going through right now.

"People may think we're a bad football team. We're not a bad football team. We've got to clean some things up and we need to make more plays."

QB Kyler Murray has yet to play this season, but has been engaged on the sideline every game.
QB Kyler Murray has yet to play this season, but has been engaged on the sideline every game.

It's been an adjustment learning offensive coordinator Drew Petzing's terminology, with Murray describing it as "completely different," than anything he's played in before. 

"Drew explains it really well," Murray said. "He coaches it really well, to the 'T.' There are so many details about it. I love it. I think the detail-oriented part of it has been great for me."

Quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork has had a front row seat to see Murray's progression throughout the three weeks' worth of practices. During the open portions of practice, Woolfork has been seen right by Murray's side.

The coaching staff has said that the team will maximize its quarterbacks skillset, but it won't entirely change everything. 

"Kyler's here now and he's going to take over and I think operational, I think play-type, he's going to stay somewhat consistent with what we've been doing," Woolfork said. "But I'm excited for all of those guys to kind of get the gang back together."

Murray said he feels good about the weapons the team has. There will be some new targets to throw to, like wide receiver Michael Wilson who Murray said, "does everything right." There will also be familiar faces like Brown, wideout Rondale Moore, and tight end Trey McBride.

Sunday's game could be a preview of what the remaining eight weeks of the season look like for the Cardinals. Brown hopes it comes with a lot more smiles along the way.

"With him being back, it's a chance to see what we got and what we can do and as an offense, keep growing for sure," Brown said. "Everyone's excited and everyone's juiced up. It's going to be a lot of fun."