Kyler Murray’s knee injury is a devastating setback for the Cardinals’ ambitions

Kyler Murray is accustomed to teammates around him during celebrations. In reality, this occurred earlier in the season during the Cardinals’ Week 2 victory in Las Vegas, which Murray won in the dying minutes. On the field, running back James Conner informed him, “You’re special, dude.”

On Monday night, though, the situation was different. Three plays in, the contest versus the Patriots had only begun. Murray raced to the right. He attempted a cut. A knee gave way. The quarterback remained on the grass at State Farm Stadium. Murray was surrounded by teammates who took a knee.

The Cardinals entered this season with playoff aspirations. Instead, head-shaking moments followed one another. The suspension of the team’s best receiver. An offensive line beset by injuries. An assistant coach was fired after reportedly behaving improperly prior to a game in Mexico City.

This was the latest

“You lose your starter on the third play of the game,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “Non-contact. It’s just tough to watch.”

Kingsbury stated that he would learn more about the seriousness of Murray’s injuries on Tuesday. The Cardinals, though, appeared to have anticipated what was to come.

“You never want to see that happen to anybody,” backup quarterback Colt McCoy said.

“Something freaky,” left tackle Josh Jones said.

“Anytime you see a non-contact injury, you know it’s worse (than a minor injury) right away,” receiver DeAndre Hopkins said.

Without Murray, the Cardinals had little chance against the Patriots, falling 27-13 for their third consecutive defeat. Their postseason prospects are not entirely extinguished, but their reality has been set for weeks. This club has not won two consecutive games. A squad which has defeated itself. A squad with a home record of 1-7 and an overall record of 4-9.

Prior to Monday night, these last weeks were mostly focused on Murray’s progress. And this is why Arizona is suffering so badly. It may impact the Cardinals in the early stages of the next season as well.

In some respects, this has been the struggle since the Cardinals selected Murray as the first overall choice in the 2019 draft. During the quarterback’s first three seasons, the team improved from five wins to eight wins to 11 victories. Everything ran according to plan. Arizona signed Murray to a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension last summer, a deal that will shortly place Murray among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league. This was it; the future was secured.

It started a little rocky

Murray had to defend his study habits during training camp when news emerged that Arizona had placed a stipulation in his contract requiring him to study game video on his own for four hours per week. The incident made national news and humiliated both parties. The Cardinals eliminated the amendment.

As the season progressed, more difficulty arose. The plays Murray made to force OT against the Raiders were extraordinary, but they were insufficient. Then, there were his contacts with Kingsbury in public. In a victory over the New Orleans Saints on October 20, Murray argued with the head coach, instructing him in colourful language to cool down as the Cardinals neared the end zone and Kingsbury had to burn a timeout.

Murray has seemed for most of the season to be a quarterback attempting to meet great expectations but falling short. It is not entirely his fault. The Cardinals were decimated by injuries and personnel concerns. Hopkins was suspended for the first six games of the season for breaking NFL rules on performance-enhancing drugs. The team’s most important offseason addition, Marquise Brown, missed five games with a foot ailment. Zach Ertz, a tight end, tore his knee. The offensive line has begun nine different configurations. The position coach for the line, Sean Kugler, was let go after the alleged Mexico City incident.

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