Kyler Murray’s Cardinals face an inevitable rebuilding losing season is becoming a reality News, scores, highlights, stats, and rumors

Kyler Murray’s Cardinals face an inevitable rebuilding losing season is becoming a reality News, scores, highlights, stats, and rumors

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

With or without quarterback Kyler Murray, the Arizona Cardinals are a flawed squad.

Monday’s 38-10 drubbing by the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City showed that one team is on the rise and the other is headed in the wrong direction. Murray’s eventual comeback from a hamstring injury after a disappointing 4-7 record was not going to save the season.

Kliff Kingsbury’s entire tenure as Cardinals head coach can be described as disappointing. Well, maybe not—if one really pays attention to how he performed as a collegiate coach.

At Texas Tech, Kingsbury won 47 percent of his games. With Monday’s loss, the coach’s winning percentage at Arizona is…wait for it…48 percent (when rounded up).

Coupled with some of the worst drafting in the league from general manager Steve Kim, owner Michael Bidwill should have reached the point where wiping the slate clean in the upcoming offseason is a serious possibility.

Currently, Arizona seems to be checked out and outclassed for the most part. A surprise win last week led by Colt McCoy doesn’t change the fact that the Cardinals have been mostly bad this season. Also, the Los Angeles Rams are one of the few teams that have had bigger upsets.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo congratulates Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury after the 49ers beat the Cardinals 38-10 in an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Mexico City.  (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

AP Photo/Fernando Plano

The team’s four wins came against opponents with a combined record of 13–29. Aside from an impressive 7-0 start last season, the Cardinals have been mediocre to poor. Granted, Kingsbury inherited one of the worst squads in the league, but the last four years have not seen sustained improvement. The opposite happened.

The regression started during October 28 Thursday night football Meeting with the Green Bay Packers last year. From that point to today, the Cardinals own an 8-14 record.

A look at the roster shows just how talentless Arizona really is. There appear to be four valid building blocks starting with Murray. Wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown, as well as safety Budda Baker, form other pillars of the team.

Questions and jokes about Murray and his commitment to playing quarterback at the NFL level have been controversial since the Cardinals signed the 25-year-old signal-caller to a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension this past offseason. Technically, that part of his current contract hasn’t started yet. He’s the guy for the foreseeable future, and he should be.

Whether Murray is a film junkie or not shouldn’t blind anyone to the fact that he’s a gifted natural athlete who has carried the offense at points throughout his career.

Explosive arm talent and great escape ability and exceptional open field mobility make him difficult for opposing defenses to handle. The 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is a different caliber than most athletes at the position and it shows.

Is Murray perfect? Far from it.

But the franchise relies on his natural gifts in a league where players with similar skill sets are more prevalent than ever. The NFL is now a league where extended playing time often causes the most damage outside of the structure.

The fact that Kingsbury hasn’t gotten the most out of his hand-picked quarterback after making him the No. 1 overall pick three years ago, primarily because he supposedly fits the coach’s system, says more about the play-caller than his mentor.

Injuries certainly played a role. Murray missed three games last year with an ankle injury. But based on how the squad finished last season, the growing discontent between the quarterback and the team’s brain trust seemed to be the bigger problem.

Maybe Murray is “self-centered” and “immature” according to ESPN Chris Mortensen The relay takes place in February. Internal strife did not stop Bidwill from handing over the aforementioned mega-deals.

In doing so, the choice became clear. If the Cardinals want to make any changes, it will be to the personnel, not who is behind center. To properly build around Murray, Arizona needs to do a better job. Keim has done a miserable job of it.

Kim became general manager of the Cardinals in 2013. Since then, he has drafted Jonathan Cooper, Dione Buchanan, DJ Humphries, Robert Nkemdiche, Hassan Redick, Josh Rosen, Murray, Isaiah Simmons and Javon Collins in the first round. yes This year’s top pick, tight end Trey McBride, had little to no impact.

A general manager’s batting average might not be so bad if this were Major League Baseball. In the NFL, a team that doesn’t whiff too many times during the opening frame and doesn’t see its lineup start to crumble.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - NOVEMBER 21: DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals makes a catch on Charvarius Ward #7 of the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at Estadio Azteca on November 21, 2022 in Mexico City, Mexico.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

At this point, Hopkins is the only real threat in the passing game. Since returning from a six-game suspension, the five-time Pro Bowl selection has snagged 45 receptions for 487 yards in five contests.

More help should be forthcoming after Brown was designated full to return from injured reserve after missing the last five games with a foot injury.

Those blocking for Murray and his skill position players are also in disarray. Arizona has endured seven different starting offensive line combinations so far this year. The unrest in the trenches was predictable based on the fact that Kim let an aging group enter this season without adding significant strength.

Rodney Hudson, Justin Pugh and Kelvin Beachum Jr. are all 32 or older this season. Two of the three are on injured reserve, the other being starting guard Will Hernandez.

A poorly constructed offensive setup stunts any kind of development the coaching staff expects.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - AUGUST 21: Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Kim during an NFL preseason game at State Farm Stadium on August 21, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Ravens beat the Cardinals 24-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On the other end of the ball, the Cardinals had no answer for the 49ers. San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looked as good as he could while working through his progressions and even extending a few plays that turned into big gainers. Christian McCaffrey and his running backs also averaged 5.7 yards per carry.

JJ Watt may be a big name, but he’s not the player he used to be. To be fair, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has set an impossible standard. Instead, Baker is the group’s tone-setter.

“Budda kind of demands that we all play at a certain level, maybe more than some coaches,” Collins said. athleticIts Doug Haller.

Some changes should be made next week. Fan appeals from Baker and the likes will only go so far. The Cardinals won’t be favored in many of their remaining games.

Next week’s meeting with the Los Angeles Chargers should be considered a tossup if Murray is ready to play. After the bye week, the Denver Broncos look like a real winnable game.

The Cards could sneak away with one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Atlanta Falcons, but a lot is on the line as these two NFC South participants battle for a division championship. Six or fewer wins is a good threshold to know when it’s time.

Kingsbury’s method did not work. Someone else leading the front office can make a big difference. As the face of the franchise, it’s up to Murray to answer the call of duty.

Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @brentsbleski.

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