Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon: Kyler Murray is 'our franchise quarterback'

Arizona has gone 3-4 since Murray returned in Week 10

In Jonathan Gannon's mind, there's no doubt about the franchise quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.

It's Kyler Murray.

The Cardinals head coach raved about Murray in a Tuesday interview that further tamped down the idea that Arizona might select a quarterback in this year's draft and move away from the former No. 1 pick.

Gannon was asked on Arizona Sports' "Burns & Gambo" podcast if there was "any doubt in your mind who your quarterback is going to be next season."

"No, there's not," he said with a laugh. "No, there's no doubt."

Gannon then called Murray "our franchise quarterback."

"You know I'm a Kyler guy now," Gannon continued.

Jonathan Gannon, right, is all in on Kyler Murray. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jonathan Gannon, right, is all in on Kyler Murray. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

It's not often questions swirl around the job status of a former No. 1 overall draft pick at quarterback playing on a five-year, $230 million contract extension. But that's the position Murray and the Cardinals were in following the end of a tumultuous tenure under former head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim.

Kingsbury was hired specifically to build his offense around Murray. He was fired after a four-year tenure produced one winning season and zero playoff wins and concluded with a 4-13 campaign in 2023.

Enter a new regime with Gannon as head coach and Monti Ossenfort as general manager. Murray started the season sidelined with an ACL tear as Caleb Williams and Drake Maye cemented their status as two of the most coveted quarterback prospects the league has ever seen.

Add in a 1-8 start that had the Cardinals on track to land a top draft pick, and speculation swirled that the Cardinals would move on from Murray. Then Murray returned from his ACL tear in Week 10. He led a dazzling 2-minute drill in his first game back to beat the Atlanta Falcons.

Gannon's impressed with Murray's work habits, performance

The Cardinals have gone 3-4 since Murray's return, a stretch that featured a stunning upset of the reigning NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Eagles led 21-6 at halftime. Then Murray threw three second-half touchdowns and led a fourth scoring drive to secure a 35-31 upset that put the Eagles' NFC East hopes in peril.

Murray was sick the week before and missed multiple practices, planting concern for Gannon about how he'd perform against the Eagles. His play Sunday further cemented that Murray is his guy.

"I always think he's gonna play good, and he has. But there's no doubt he's a huge part to why we won that game. I thought he lit it up. I thought he was lights out.

"I think at the end of the game — my expectation for him is if you've got the ball in your hands, the team knows we have a chance to win the game. And that's what he did."

Murray has also quelled chatter about his work habits that surfaced when the Cardinals put an "independent study" clause into his contract. The clause forbade him from from playing video games or watching TV during designated study hours. The Cardinals later rescinded the clause after it created an uproar.

Gannon has no qualms with Murray's work.

"It's been awesome," Gannon continued. "Being here for a year with him now, I'm more convicted than when I got here. Just going through the process and our connection and developing the relationship with him. ...

"Just seeing the work that he put in and the things that we talked about this offseason ... he's done everything that we've asked. ... I've been very pleased with him."

Murray's performance and Arizona's improved play have made it less likely that the Cardinals will be in a position to draft Williams or Maye. Doing so will likely require the Nos. 1 or 2 pick in the draft. The Cardinals are now in line for the No. 4 pick, a selection that could net an elite non-quarterback talent like Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

It's an enticing prospect if Murray is indeed ready to return to Pro Bowl form.