Kyler Murray was not aware he has emerged as the favorite to win the 2021 MVP heading into Week Four.
But it's something the quarterback dismissed quickly, adding that accumulating team wins remains his only concern.
"It is what it is," Murray said. "I was raised and taught that if you win as a team, the individual accolades will come. That's how I treated it in high school, that's how I treated it when I won the Heisman, and it's the same thing for now."
Based on Murray's play this season through three games, it's no surprise the signal-caller has jumped in front of the MVP talk.
After throwing for 316 yards against the Jaguars' secondary on Sunday, Murray now has 1,005 passing yards in 2021, third in the NFL behind only Tom Brady and Derek Carr. He is the first quarterback in Cardinals history to throw for 1,000 yards within the first three games of a season. In the past two weeks, and his completion percentage of 80 plus in back-to-back games is also a first in franchise history.
Murray was among the MVP favorites the first half of last season as the Cardinals started the year with a 6-3 record, when he was on pace to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000. The team struggled to a 2-5 finish however, and Murray's statistical pace slowed as well.
With Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford also making an early push for possible postseason hardware, this week's Cardinals-Rams game figures to direct the MVP narrative as October begins.
GARDECK'S IR-RETURN WINDOW OPENS
Linebacker Dennis Gardeck was designated for return from injured reserve on Wednesday, meaning he can begin practicing. The Cardinals can activate Gardeck to the 53-man roster at any point in the next three weeks. If they don't, Gardeck must sit out the remainder of the 2021 season.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury was optimistic Gardeck was close to being activated..
"We're not sure about this week," Kingsbury said. "But I would say hopefully by next week."
Regarding defensive lineman Jordan Phillips, who is also on IR, Kingsbury said the veteran is progressing but had no timetable for his return.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN DAY-TO-DAY
Offensive linemen Justin Pugh (back), Justin Murray (back), Kelvin Beachum,(ribs) and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (ribs) did not practice Wednesday. Kingsbury said the linemen who have been hurt were day to day, and the Cardinals hoped to get them on the practice field Friday and make a determination of their status from there.
Center Rodney Hudson, linebacker Chandler Jones, nose tackle Corey Peters didn't practice to rest, and wide receiver A.J. Green was limited for the same reason.
According to the NFL's transactions report, the Cardinals placed wide receiver Josh Doctson on the Practice Squad Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday.
For the Rams, wide receiver TuTu Atwell (illness), linebacker Leonard Floyd (ankle), cornerback Robert Rochell (illness), defensive tackle Aaron Donald (rest) and tackle Andrew Whitworth (rest) did not practice. Running back Darrell Henderson (ribs) was limited.