Arizona Cardinals Kyler Murray is anything but nervous or anxious about making his NFL debut

Bob McManaman
The Republic |
View Comments

Kyler Murray isn’t a cyborg, although you might have a hard time explaining that to Kliff Kingsbury. It seems the Cardinals’ head coach, despite the fact he knows the rookie quarterback better than almost anyone, can’t get Murray to open up and share an opinion or even speak his mind.

That’s why he really couldn’t answer when someone asked him on Wednesday if he has a good sense of Murray’s mood entering his NFL debut this Sunday against the Detroit Lions at State Farm Stadium.

“You all have interviewed him, right? What does he usually give you all?” Kingsbury said, laughing. “It’s the same. That’s what he is and who he is.”

To Murray, life is all about football. And winning. He might spend some of his rare off time fooling around with video games, but his mind and his emotions are always fixated on football. He’s been playing it since he was 5 or 6 and that’s what he enjoys talking about and dreaming about.

He’s done it for so long, and at such a high level, there are no nerves or anxieties. He’s been ready for this moment his whole life.

“I’m very excited, obviously,” he said. “It’s the first chance for us as a team to go out and play somebody else. For me, playing the game of football, obviously there’s a lot of emotions going on. But I always like to keep calm and just be myself. Trust the game plan, trust myself, trust my teammates going into it, go out there and play my game and let the chips fall where they may.”

That’s how he got himself here, after all. Trust. Confidence. Calmness. Those are some of the traits that any quarterback must possess if they hope to be great. Nerves never help and according to Murray, he hasn’t felt any of those since he won his first of three straight state championships back at Allen (Texas) High School.

“Yeah, my first season playing varsity, that was probably the last season I got nervous for,” he said. “I was kind of nervous for that one.”

Does anything else in life make him nervous?

“Talking to gir- … No, just kidding,” he said. “No. No, nothing like that. I just try to be myself.”

So far, that’s been more than enough to make him one of the most interesting players in the NFL this season. Everyone in and around the game is curious to see what the former Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma and the No.1 overall pick in the draft can do in Kingsbury’s version of the “Air Raid” offense.

Even Kingsbury, who can’t get a straight answer from Murray when he asks the quarterback which plays he likes and which ones he doesn’t.

“It’s like pulling teeth with him,” Kingsbury said, adding, “He wants to make them all work. … Walking off the practice field, I’ll try to say, ‘Hey, what don’t you like?’ And he’ll say, ‘I love it all’ and we’ll move forward. But that’s how he is. He’s competitive and he wants to make it all work.”

Murray is so dialed in, Kingsbury says, that the 22-year-old just doesn’t have much to say about anything.

“I just badger him to constantly try to get him to talk about something,” the coach said. “That’s it, just stay on him.”

Asked why he hasn’t told Kingsbury to scrub a certain play, Murray said, “I mean, most of the time I like it all. Most of the time. I just feel confident in it. If I don’t like it, I’ll tell him.”

Has he done that yet?

“I did it yesterday,” Murray said.

Murray said he and the Cardinals are fully prepared for the Lions and that now it’s just about how well they can execute things at a high level. He also said he’s ready for the speed and the physicality of the game to kick up a notch from what he faced in the preseason. Not that he’s concerned about that.

“I’m chillin’,” he said. “I’m excited for Sunday obviously knowing it’s a big day for everybody – the start of the season. But we want to start it off the right way and that’s with a win. So, I’m preparing like any other season for me.”

Pressed if he’ll have any anxious moments between now and then, Murray said, “No, not right now. Maybe Saturday night.”

If anyone is going to be anxious, Murray said, it’s probably going to be his father, Kevin, the person who taught him how to play quarterback. Murray’s parents and dozens of family members and friends will be on hand to watch his pro debut, but it’s Dad who likely will be wringing his hands in anticipation.

“He’s probably more anxious than me, just knowing how much time and work was put into getting to this point,” Murray said. “He knows this has always been a dream of mine, so I’m sure he’s just excited for me to get out there and play.”

Have an opinion on the Arizona Cardinals? Reach McManaman at and follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac. Listen to him live on Fox Sports 910-AM every Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 on Calling All Sports with Roc and Manuch and every Wednesday night from 7-9 on The Freaks with Kenny and Crash.

News and information you can trust. Start your online subscription.

View Comments