Kyler Murray’s work, leadership praised by Jonathan Gannon, Budda Baker

To say that Kyler Murray has been a lightning rod since being selected No. 1 overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2019 draft would be an understatement, judging by the persistent outside noise that was often over the top but also at times justified.

It also appears clear that the torn ACL Murray suffered late in the 2022 season humbled him, coupled with the arrival of general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon early in the 2023 offseason.

Murray attacked his rehab and learning a new offense with a vengeance and then performed well in the final eight games of the season.

Gannon has had nothing but praise when talking about his quarterback and reiterated those thoughts Tuesday morning while speaking at the NFC coaches breakfast at the league meetings in Orlando, Fla.

“Everything that we’ve asked of him, he’s went above and beyond,” Gannon said. “If you watch the tape, you know why I’m convicted. But it’s not only the tape at that position. The other things that he brings to the table as a person, as a teammate, as a competitor, I absolutely love. Saddle me up; let’s go. Just from a standpoint of respect and love and care and developing that relationship with him we kinda like hit it off. So feel really good about where he’s at and where he wants to go.”

In comments Cardinals safety Budda Baker made on the Up & Adams podcast with Kay Adams, it was clear he agrees with Gannon’s assessment.

Baker said, “It’s night and day from his rookie year until now. Always a great player. (But now) a guy you can talk to, any of the players can talk to whether it’s the practice squad guys or the best players on the team. He’s around us. He jokes, cracks jokes, he talks. He’s a great leader, so definitely excited for him to continue to grow, continue to get better and lead this organization.”

Gannon can’t wait to get on the grass when the offseason program begins next month when Murray can focus on football, not rehabbing from a major injury.

The coach said, “That’s why I’m super excited about spring, getting to go through spring and then training camp with him because there’s some things that we want to explore that we think he can handle and there’s some things that he has brought up (and) that he wants some things added that he likes and he is comfortable with. So that’s always a coach and player thing, player and coach, which I love and I just think that him being in the spring and going through spring is really gonna help his development within our system with him as a player.

“I mean we changed his stance, how he took the snap and he took to it and understood the why behind it and he likes it now, but he’s gonna bank all those reps in the spring. So that’s why I say his best football is head of him, which is interesting to say because he’s played at such a high level.”

Moving his hand upward, Gannon concluded, “I really think he’s gonna keep going that way.”

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Story originally appeared on Cards Wire