Byron Murphy Jr. has been happy all week about the chance to return to Seattle.
It's not the place that raised him, but it's the location the cornerback spent his college years before the Cardinals drafted him in the 2019 NFL Draft. As for Murphy's location on the field Sunday against the Seahawks, that might be new.
For the first two seasons of Murphy's NFL career, former teammate Patrick Peterson guarded the opposing team's best receiver. Peterson had success against Seattle's DK Metcalf, one of the league's premier receivers. In his first four matchups with the Cardinals dating back to 2019, Metcalf has just six catches for 75 yards on 15 targets.
With Peterson now in Minnesota, Murphy is the team's No. 1 cornerback and might have the Metcalf assignment.
"I love challenges," Murphy said. "It's an opportunity. Whoever the best receiver is, that's who I want to go against all game."
One could say Seattle has two No. 1 receivers. Tyler Lockett piled up 200 receiving yards on 15 receptions in their first divisional meeting in 2020 and is someone Murphy could spend time covering.
"Definitely a great receiver," Murphy said. "I think he's just a dog overall. He's a smaller guy, but he does it all. He's a big part of their offense."
Murphy has been solid in his first year as the team's lead corner. Murphy has a 64.4 Pro Football grade through 10 games, according to Pro Football Focus.
Like most corners, Murphy has a great deal of respect for star quarterback Russell Wilson, who didn't have his best performance last week in returning from a finger injury. Murphy expects to face a better version of Wilson on Sunday.
"He's coming back from surgery," Murphy said. "For anyone coming back from surgery, especially on your throwing hand, it's going to be difficult. You have to get used to it again. Obviously, he had time to get more treatment. So, he should be back good on Sunday. We'll be ready to play."
THE CARDINALS AND THE POTENTIAL NO. 1 SEED
When Zach Ertz won his first career Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018, the team owned the NFC's No.1 seed. Now, the tight end has a chance to accomplish that again as a member of the Cardinals. And yes, it's something the former Pro Bowler would love to do.
"The bye is the biggest thing to me, Ertz said. "If you're able to be one of the best teams in the league and have a bye week, you only have to win two games, and you're in the Super Bowl. Compared to going on the road and playing three. But we're not focused on that. We have to continue to get better. There is a lot of football left to play."
The Cardinals are currently second in the NFC, with an 8-2 record. But the mark is reachable if the rest of the season falls their way. The Cardinals have never captured the NFC's No. 1 seed in the modern era.
With the addition of the extra playoff team starting in 2020, only the No. 1 seed in each conference earns a bye.
"I've seen it on social media and those types of things," Murphy said. "We talk about it in the locker room. But we're focused on Sunday and taking it game-by-game."
KYLER MURRAY LIMITED AT PRACTICE FOR SECOND STRAIGHT DAY; BAKER ABSENT
For the second straight day, quarterback Kyler Murray (ankle) was limited in practice Thursday, as was quarterback Colt McCoy (pectoral).
But safety Budda Baker, who ended up as limited with a new heel injury on the Wednesday injury report, was downgraded to DNP on Thursday. Also sitting out were guard Justin Pugh (calf), wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring), defensive lineman Corey Peters (shoulder), running back Jonathan Ward (concussion) and linebacker Tanner Vallejo (knee).
Safety James Wiggins (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis for the first time since getting hurt. Others limited were running back Eno Benjamin (groin), tight end Darrell Daniels (shoulder), defensive lineman Michael Dogbe (knee), guard Max Garcia (Achilles) and defensive lineman Jordan Phillips (groin).
For the Seahawks, safety Jamal Adams was added to the report as limited with a groin injury. Others limited were linebacker Cody Barton (quadricep), guard Damien Lewis (shoulder/hip), tackle Duane Brown (hip), and cornerback D.J. Reed (groin/knee). Sitting out were running back Alex Collins (groin), tackle Jamarco Jones (back), defensive end Kerry Hyder (calf), defensive end Carlos Dunlap (personal), and tight end Gerald Everett (groin)