Zach Ertz Says Kyler Murray Knows Cardinals' Playbook Better Than Anyone on Team

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 26, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 06: Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to pass against the AFC during the second half of the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl at Allegiant Stadium on February 06, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

To hear tight end Zach Ertz tell it, Arizona Cardinals fans don't have to worry about Kyler Murray's study habits.

Ertz said the quarterback knows the playbook better than anyone else on Arizona's roster and even helped him pick up some of the nuances after he joined the Cardinals during a midseason trade in 2021, per Tyler Drake of 98.7 Arizona Sports.

The topic came up because NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Murray's $230.5 million contract extension with the NFC West team includes an addendum that requires four hours of "independent study" each game week:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Kyler Murray does 4 hours of game studying on his own, anyway. And similar to the team wanting him around for the offseason as the face of the franchise, AZ wanted a commitment in writing while going to a certain place money-wise. Thus, the clause πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ <a href="https://t.co/2WjSXBCqtv">https://t.co/2WjSXBCqtv</a>

Rapoport explained this was more about making something that already happens official in writing, although Murray did suggest film study wasn't on the top of his priority list during a 2021 interview.

"I think I was blessed with the cognitive skills to just go out there and just see it before it happens," Murray said, per Ben Shpigel of the New York Times. "I'm not one of those guys that's going to sit there and kill myself watching film. I don't sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game because, in my head, I see so much."

The approach has largely worked for the Oklahoma product considering he has an Offensive Rookie of the Year and two Pro Bowl selections on his resume through three seasons.

Murray completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 3,787 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while adding 423 yards and five scores on the ground as a dual-threat playmaker. It was enough to lead the Cardinals to the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 campaign, although he struggled in the 34-11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams that ended his season.

He accounted for zero touchdowns and two interceptions in that game as Arizona's offense failed to establish anything resembling a rhythm.

The quarterback's future with the team became a talking point this offseason, especially when he unfollowed the team and deleted content on Instagram. Yet they came to terms on a new deal that Josh Weinfuss of ESPN noted will pay Murray an annual average salary of $46.1 million, second only to Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers' $50.3 million.

The 24-year-old will be under more scrutiny with this deal, especially as he attempts to find playoff success. Having Ertz, who is a three-time Pro Bowler, as a safety valve for the entire season after he came in during the 2021 campaign will help.

So will mastering the playbook, which he apparently has already done.