Jonathan Gannon had to get ready to play the Cardinals and Kyler Murray early in the 2022 season, so he knows what it is like to coach against the quarterback.
"I used the term he's a problem to defend, because of what he can do," the new Cardinals coach said Thursday during his introductory press conference. "He's a problem for defenses."
If there was any doubt of Gannon's Murray buy-in, it should have been buried after Gannon's first full day at the team facility. Gannon and Murray had a brief chat before the press conference, Gannon spoke glowingly of his QB during the presser with Murray sitting with other players in the front row, and then later – taping a segment for the "Big Red Rage" radio show airing that evening – was direct when talking about their relationship.
"We're going to have a great relationship," Gannon said. "He's a direct reflection of me. That position is the player that's most like a coach on that field.
"When you have to defend a player like that, it puts a defense in conflict. You can't do everything you want to do as a defense."
There is no bigger question facing Gannon than who will be coaching Murray. Gannon said there were different candidates in line to be interviewed in the next 48 hours. One report said the Cardinals had requested permission to talk to Browns QB coach Drew Petzing, with whom Gannon worked in Minnesota, for the spot.
Gannon also said the Cardinals will work on the plan at quarterback if Murray is unable to play when the season begins, a likely scenario.
"I have a very specific vision of how I want to play on offense," Gannon said. "The person that comes in to run the offense is going to understand that everything we do will be structured around the quarterback position to maximize his skill set. And we have an elite one."
WHO IS CALLING THE DEFENSE
Gannon is a defensive coach, but he did not commit to be the defensive playcaller on Sundays. He didn't rule it out either.
"It will depend a little bit on the makeup of the (coaching) staff," Gannon said. "I got a really good blueprint in Philly of how that went with the head coach and how he adapted to make our team better."
In Philadelphia, Nick Siranni was an offensive playcaller when hired but gave the duties to Shane Steichen.
BOTH MURRAY AND ERTZ REHABBING IN TEMPE
Murray and tight end Zach Ertz, each coming back from ACL injuries, were among the players who attended Thursday's press conference. Murray did not speak to the media but Ertz did, saying his rehab was going well.
"I am excited with where we are right now," said Ertz, who will reach three months post-surgery on Saturday. "The goal is always to be there Week 1. It's an adaptable goal. When I am out there, I am going to be myself. I'm not going to go out there early, put the team at risk when I'm 80 percent. I need to be at my best for this organization to be successful."
Ertz was with the Eagles while Gannon was there in 2021 up until his trade to the Cardinals. Ertz will be back on the field before Murray. Murray is about six weeks post-surgery, and put video on social media of him rehabbing, including riding a bike.
"He's doing a great job," Ertz said. "Obviously I'm not with him every day, but from what I can tell he's doing everything he can to attack this thing. The first six weeks, eight weeks are tough. There is a lot of alone time, a lot of, 'Man, when is this thing going to feel better.' You just have to find small victories.
"At the end of the day, Kyler is going to do everything he can to be the best version of himself. I'm sure he's extremely motivated, like we all are, with how this past season went."
Images of Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Jonathan Gannon during his first day at the Cardinals training facility