A day after Drew Brees broke the NFL's career passing touchdown record, Kyler Murray may have officially shattered a glass ceiling that tried to limit them both.
Murray was named a Pro Bowl alternate as a rookie on Tuesday evening, the latest short quarterback to prove height isn't the restrictive issue many believed. If the Cardinals quarterback ends up in Orlando for the festivities, it may be because the 6-foot Brees or the 5-foot-10 Russell Wilson is in the Super Bowl.
"Just like Kyler, (Wilson) is so good that those issues that you think are there, they just aren't," said coach Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks play the Cardinals this week. "They've learned how to throw the ball into open spaces and through the spaces. They suddenly move to find the windows to throw the football. They know how to do that. That's why they've made it so far and they're so good. Both Russell and Kyler certainly don't show any issues at all."
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury was all-in on Murray upon his hire, unconcerned his quarterback's stature would hinder the offense. Several months later, Kingsbury has the proof.
"There has never been a concept where we're like, 'We can't have that in because he can't see over the line,' or, 'He's only 5-10,'" Kingsbury said. "There hasn't been one play where that thought process has even come into my head. Those smaller guys, they've played small their entire life. They've developed the ability to find passing lanes, and move, and do different things."
When Wilson arrived in Seattle, sub-6-foot quarterbacks were ultra-rare, and Carroll wasn't initially certain he could run everything normally. But it didn't take long for Wilson to prove he could execute as well or better than his taller brethren.
"We needed to find out what it was like to play with him," Carroll said. "We weren't sure, because he's such an unusual player. The obvious thing that people think of is that a shorter quarterback is going to get balls knocked down. That wasn't the case in college. He had very few passes knocked down. We were curious to see if that would carry over, which it did. Russ is always one of the better guys in the league at having the fewest passes knocked down."
This season, Wilson has four batted passes, which is tied with eight others for 25th-most in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Brees, who missed five games, has only had two passes batted.
Murray is tied for eighth-most in the NFL with nine, although that's five fewer than Carson Wentz and the same amount as the 6-foot-6 Joe Flacco, who played in only eight games.
There was intense focus on Murray's height at the NFL Scouting combine, which he always found silly. Fourteen games into his career, Murray has more than measured up.
"Me and Russell look eye-to-eye," Murray said. "I never understood why it was a big deal."
THE RIGHT PHONE CALL FOR DENNIS GARDECK
Dennis Gardeck was unhappy with his showing on Sunday against the Browns, and as a former undrafted free agent, he never feels completely comfortable with his standing in the NFL.
So when his cell phone lit up on Tuesday, the second-year linebacker thought he might be getting cut.
"Any time you get a '602' area code and you don't know the number, it gives you the sweats a little bit," Gardeck said.
Instead, it was president and chairman Michael Bidwill delivering the news that Gardeck had been named a Pro Bowl alternate for his special teams work.
"It was really cool, because my family was in town, so we had an Airbnb up in North Scottsdale," Gardeck said. "We were all hanging out, so I was able to share the news with them quick. I gave them a thumbs-up as soon as I hopped on the phone and found out it was good news. They appreciated the thumbs up because they were nervous as well."
HAASON REDDICK PRACTICES FULLY
Outside linebacker Haason Reddick (groin) logged a full practice on Wednesday, which is a very good sign for his availability against the Seahawks. Those who missed practiced were wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle), linebacker Jordan Hicks (calf) and guard Justin Pugh (back).
Defensive lineman Caraun Reid (knee) and linebacker Joe Walker (ribs) were limited, while wideout Larry Fitzgerald, outside linebacker Chandler Jones, defensive tackle Corey Peters and guard J.R. Sweezy were given rest days.
For the Seahawks, tackle Duane Brown (biceps/knee), linebacker Bobby Wagner (ankle), defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (core), safety Quandre Diggs (ankle) and tackle George Fant (illness) did not practice. Those limited were linebacker Cody Barton (thigh), cornerback Shaquill Griffin (hamstring), center Joey Hunt (fibula), guard Mike Iupati (neck), linebacker Mychael Kendricks (hamstring) and defensive tackle Al Woods (ankle).
Images of the Cardinals cheerleaders during the Week 15 contest at State Farm Stadium