Arizona

Why the Arizona Cardinals want to believe faithfully in Kyler Murray

In his last 17 starts, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has won 5-12 and spent the 2022 season retiring.

You know why so many Arizona Cardinals fans want to believe Kyler Murray’s season is okay? Or why are they turning a blind eye and deaf ears to the fourth-year quarterback’s shortcomings? Because in terms of young star quarterbacks who have played for the Redbirds since joining Phoenix in 1988, Who else is there?

And it’s not just the cardinals who are faithful. Head to Lake Erie and watch the Cleveland Browns fans looking for any excuse to believe in Baker Mayfield, a mediocre quarterback who got them further than (at least) the last 30 put them together. Then, when they traded for Deshaun Watson, how many of them saw beyond his plethora of serious allegations? More than you think.

Who was the last decent young quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals? It wasn’t Josh Rosen, John Skelton, or Matt Leinart. They should all be the future. I remember how excited half the fanbase was when the Redbirds left in 2010 with a 27-year-old Derek Anderson. Anderson flopped and a year later Kevin Kolb took over the reins.

For obvious reasons, we’re not talking about Kurt Warner or Carson Palmer as they were in their respective career twilight modes. But they were arguably the top two quarterbacks since the Cardinals arrived in the desert since 1988.

So was this the last decent young quarterback for the Cardinals? It wasn’t Josh McCown, although he did have a few memorable moments. Like Murray, McCown should be the answer, not the career journeyman he became.

Arizona Cardinals stalwarts want a young quarterback to take charge

Let’s talk about Jake Plummer. The fandom still likes to give Plummer the benefit of the doubt. Yes, he won you a playoff game…against the Dallas Cowboys of all things! But in all honesty, the guy was hardly a decent quarterback, hitting his bottom in 1999 when he threw 24 interceptions compared to just nine touchdown passes in 11 starts.

You want my honest answer on who the best young quarterback in Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals history is? It’s Kyler Murray, but looking at the names listed above it really doesn’t say much.

Because of this, the fanbase wants to look beyond Murray’s flaws, which Patrick Peterson exposed this week but which most NFL fans already know about. I speak to fans of several teams weekly and none of them think highly of Murray. Unless you run into a Redbirds fan.

This morning I was watching a channel that talked about the most disappointing player on any team in 2022. Kyler Murray appeared several times in this video. And it only reinforces the uncomfortable truth that Murray isn’t the answer. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wore a different uniform in 2024.

Over the past month, I’ve compared Murray to a young Jack Eichel, a former runner-up for the Buffalo Sabers. He was also a player many in the Sabers fanbase retrospectively consider “cancer,” among other things. Looking ahead, before his infamous trade to Vegas, many wanted to overlook his mistakes and ignore the inevitable reality that he wasn’t the leader the Sabers envisioned.

Neither does Kyler Murray, and believers will realize that in time. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a quarterback leading the Arizona Cardinals to a platform the franchise has never been on. It just won’t be Kyler Murray, although I can understand why a lot of fans wanted it to be him at one point, myself included.

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