Pretty much all hope is lost for the Arizona Cardinals in terms of the playoffs, but that’s not stopping them from bringing back their best player.
Head coach Jonathan Gannon announced on Friday that Kyler Murray will start this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons, making his season debut after tearing his ACL last year.
The fifth-year quarterback tore his ACL on December 12 last year, automatically putting a damper on the 2023 Cardinals, who have started a measly 1-8.
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But the team had always considered that Murray would play if his rehab were to go well, and it’s apparent that it has.
Josh Dobbs started the Cardinals’ first eight games, and Clayton Tune started last week while Murray was gearing up for his return, and Dobbs was traded to the Minnesota Vikings.
Counting the game in which Murray was hurt, the Cardinals went 1-13 in his absence.
Murray had been practicing for the last three weeks and was moved to the active roster on Tuesday.
One of Murray’s biggest strengths during his first four seasons was an ability to scramble, but it’s unclear how much the Cardinals want him being exposed to big hits after coming off such a serious injury.
Murray even said that Gannon had told him that he may not do the things he’s usually able to do, but the quarterback said he “laughed at him.”
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“I understand the thought process, but every time I touch the field, I’m trying to do my thing. Obviously, win, but do it at a high level,” Murray told reporters earlier this week.
In his 57 games, Murray, a two-time Pro Bowler and the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has completed 66.8% of his passes for 13,848 yards (242.9 per game) while running for 2,204 yards on 381 carries (5.8 yards per rush). He has thrown 84 touchdowns and run for 23, and he has been picked off 41 times while losing eight fumbles.
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The move may come as somewhat of a shock, as the Cardinals are in prime position to draft one of the highly touted quarterbacks next season. They currently hold the second overall pick.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.