The Falcons, who have benefited from facing shorthanded opponents, will draw Kyler Murray in his 2023 debut for the Cardinals.
Given the extent of the injury (ACL), it’ll be intriguing to see what kind of player Murray is in his first live-action since December of last year. He’s one of the most mobile quarterbacks league when healthy and suffered that injury on a scramble against the Patriots.
Cardinals fans and coaches will be holding their breath every time Murray takes off, but offensive coordinator Drew Petzing has no concerns about his quarterback as a runner when he makes his return.
“He’s healthy, he’s ready to go and we will put him in position to be successful,” Petzing said, via the official team website. “That’s always the nature of the franchise quarterback, and you see it around the league when they are very mobile, there is an injury risk associated with that. We have to manage that as all teams with elite quarterbacks do.”
Kyler Murray is one of the most dynamic players in the league, not just among quarterbacks. It’s why he’s so frustrating to play. The Falcons could do everything right, cover all the receivers as well as contain Murray in the pocket, and he could still escape and turn a negative play into a positive one. He has rushed for at least 400 yards in each of his four NFL seasons, including the 2022 campaign when he was limited to 11 games.
With Kliff Kingsbury, Murray was used on a ton of designed runs but also had his fair share of scrambles. Whether that’s the approach on Sunday has yet to be seen. Either way, Murray has always done a fantastic job avoiding unnecessary hits, but it’s clear the Falcons’ primary goal will be keeping him the pocket, as Arthur Smith pointed out.
"We have to make sure we contain him. He's been dangerous throughout his career… I'm sure they're happy to have him back." Arthur Smith on Kyler Murray making his return this Sunday.
— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) November 8, 2023
That will take a combination of maintaining pass rush lanes, not rushing deeper than Murray ever gets in the pocket, and maintaining a stout push from the interior. On top of that, an occasional QB spy could be beneficial, especially near the endzone and on third downs. There’s no telling how comfortable Kyler Murray will be running the football, but the Falcons have to prepare for him to be his usual elusive self.
Photographer: Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire