Cardinals HC Jonathan Gannon: 'If Kyler Murray Isn't Here, I Don't Take This Job'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 20, 2023

TEMPE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 16: New Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon answers a question from the media during a press conference at Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center on February 16, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Jonathan Gannon has made it clear that star quarterback Kyler Murray was a huge selling point for him accepting the head coaching position with the Arizona Cardinals.

The former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator said as much to Peter King of Pro Football Talk:

"If Kyler Murray isn't here, I don't take this job. I think this offense will look much different. This guy does things that it completely handcuffs you how you play defense—at times. I think we can take him to another level and unleash his full skill set. We're not gonna put him in gun all the time, I'll tell you that. We'll have two significant offenses with his skill set: One being under center and one being in the gun. Then obviously we're gonna do what's comfortable with him. The way to take pressure off the quarterback and the O-line is to put him under center at times. That's the missing piece I thought they had with Kyler. They were in gun all the time. When you're in gun all the time, you don't make the defense defend certain play types. Now, when you get him under center, the defense has to defend a lot more type of play types. So there's really two offenses I see us using."

Murray remains one of the more dynamic playmakers at quarterback, although injuries limited him to only 11 games this past season. One of the key storylines for Gannon's first year in charge will be when Murray is able to return from the torn ACL that he suffered late in 2022 and just how effective he'll be following the injury.

In four seasons, Murray has rushed for 2,204 yards and 23 touchdowns, making him a headache for defenses. Long gone are the days when an ACL tear would hamstring a player's long-term mobility, but Murray's recovery timeline remains to be seen.

In other words, Gannon may not have his franchise quarterback available early in his tenure.