Skip to main content

Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information


Presented by

With Kyler Return Comes Spotlight On His Running Game

After ACL injury, Cardinals QB works to get back to making plays with legs

The steps are coming slowly. Monday, Jonathan Gannon said if all goes well, Kyler Murray would start this week against the Falcons. Tuesday, the team officially activated Murray to the roster from PUP. 

But with Murray's return brings questions, natural queries that come with a player's return from a serious knee injury. This isn't Joe Burrow, who came back from an ACL but with a game that even before the injury only had so much running around to it. This is Kyler Murray, the dude who once spent 21 seconds carving out a two-point conversion. 

Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said there will be no worry about Kyler as runner when he gets back on the field.

"He's healthy, he's ready to go and we will put him in position to be successful," Petzing said. "That's always the nature of the franchise quarterback, and you see it around the league when they are very mobile, there is an injury risk associated with that. We have to manage that as all teams with elite quarterbacks do."

With the 381 rushing attempts in his career, Pro Football Focus breaks it down to 195 designed runs, and 186 scrambles and other non-designed run plays (like kneeldowns) over Murray's four seasons of play. That's not a small number of designed runs, but it's also not huge either. Murray has always preferred his rushes come organically on pass plays, where the defense isn't necessarily keying on him as a ballcarrier.

More interestingly, Pro Football Reference says that of Murray's 2,204 career rushing yards, a whopping 1,907 of them have come before contact -- 86.5 percent -- which emphasizes that Murray a) usually makes a clean getaway at the line of scrimmage and b) isn't looking to break tackles, like Joshua Dobbs did a number of times in his eight games. Murray always would slide. 

No part of Murray's game won't be under scrutiny when he returns. But his personal run game, especially early in his comeback, will be fascinating to see.

"Anytime he runs and gets tackled, no matter what the situation, from now until the end of time, there is going to be like, 'Get up. He's good?'" Petzing said. "Anytime you have a great player in that position you feel that way to some extent. He's so dynamic at it. He's going to get tackled, that's a fact."

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during the 2022 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022 in Glendale, AZ.