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Kyler Murray's Cardinals Future Makes Sense With Jonathan Gannon Connection

Quarterback and coach have meshed well from the moment they met

Quarterback Kyler Murray has shown no ill-effects of his ACL repair when he has run this season.
Quarterback Kyler Murray has shown no ill-effects of his ACL repair when he has run this season.

Kyler Murray's connection with Jonathan Gannon didn't take long, a 15-minute conversation when the coach was first hired as the quarterback knew immediately Gannon's knowledge and perspective of the game.

"From that day on, it was like, I won't say when you meet your best friend but that type of … it was instant," Murray said Wednesday. "We kind of speak the same language."

Wednesday was also Murray's one-year anniversary of his ACL repair surgery, the first step in his long comeback – predating Gannon's arrival – that has led to this week's prep for the season finale against the Seahawks and the end of conversation of whether Murray's return was a success.

Gannon said on a radio appearance Tuesday he had "no doubt" Murray was his quarterback in 2024, a notion that already seemed cemented but still drew the question.

"I've been convicted since I got here," Gannon said Wednesday. "What the guy has done for us, the player that he is, the person that he is, the competitor that he is. I kind of chuckled (on the radio). That's been my view since I got here."

Was Gannon then surprised it was asked? "Kind of," he said. Why?

"You guys watch the tape, don't you?" Gannon replied.

Kyler Murray stands in the pocket against Philadelphia before delivering a completion against the Eagles.
Kyler Murray stands in the pocket against Philadelphia before delivering a completion against the Eagles.

When the season started, Murray was weeks from playing, the Cardinals had two first-round picks that could have positioned them for a potential quarterback (they are No. 4 and 17 as of now). But the Cardinals always wanted Murray to succeed, and while he has had some bumps in his return seven games ago, he is coming off his best performance since 2021.

Murray shredded the Eagles in the second half of a 35-31 win, and the Cardinals have a chance to go 4-4 with Murray after starting 1-8 without him.

Murray knows he hasn't been as good as he can be in his seven games back, having lost nine months without real play on the grass, a chance to work over and over with receivers and new teammates, and just being behind a league that started nine weeks before he could.

But he talked about how players can feel in peak form, and against the Eagles, "I felt like I was in that. That's what playing at a high level, it felt that way."

The Cardinals have increased their scoring six points a game (up to 22.7) since Murray's return. Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing still feels the offense is far from its potential, so that level won't be reached before next season.

And it's clear that Murray will be in the middle of all of it, his relationship with Gannon palpable.

"Where I think my relationship is different is I want him to be an extension of me out there," Gannon said on the upcoming episode of 'Cardinals Game Plan' on Friday night. "That's what we talk about. What does that look like? What does that look like on the field and we score? What does that look like when we take a sack on third down? What does that look like when you're on the sideline? What does that look like in practice?

"It comes from a love and respect for the player. That's how I approach it with him because I do – I love the guy and I respect the guy. I know the competitor that he is. I don't know if there is a person in this building that has the will to win like me – that's not hubris because I expect myself to have that will – he has that will."

There have been no questions for Gannon that Murray was going to be his guy. And Murray has felt that from jump.

"It means a lot, but he's told me that since Day One, so it was nothing that was in the back of my mind," Murray said. "I wasn't worried about it. I was just focused on going out there and playing well, proving them right."