"Be A Man And Grow Up" - Cardinals OT Kelvin Beachum On What Kyler Murray Needs To Do To Be A Truly Great QB
Maybe Kelvin Beachum knows he's leaving Arizona anyway as a free agent so he's fresh out of fucks to give. In any event, if Kyler Murray's biggest defenders are going to act like this is yet another public remark that can be brushed aside, they're living in a fantasy world.
Beachum didn't have to be this direct (full interview with timestamp jump here). He could've been more delicate about his initial assessment of Kyler. And granted, he attempted to smooth over what he initially said. The point is, there's a widely-held perception about Kyler for a reason. His own starting right tackle did nothing to get that perception trending in the opposite direction. It was the same shit we've heard for a while now, with only a little self-filtering.
At the threat of inciting more threats of physical violence against me by, lord forbid, being the slightest bit critical of Kyler Murray, if you've read along as I've continued to blog about this video game-obsessed franchise QB, you'll know that I've always given the caveat that I'm rooting for him. Pretty safe to say at the end of the day, we all want to see great football. The sport is most entertaining when we have quarterbacks playing at their best. Kyler has all the natural ability in the world to be one of the elites. That's why it's frustrating to see how little he's developed and how he's not sniffed a playoff win in four years since the Cardinals made him the No. 1 overall pick.
Injuries have played a part. Kliff Kingsbury isn't absolved of blame. Nor is ex-GM Steve Keim, whose roster building was dubious at best in the past couple years. Then you have the infamous NFLPA report card that released recently, which casts owner Michael Bidwill and the Cardinals organization as a whole in a terrible light:
F-minus grades on nutrition, weight room, and training room — and "F" on treatment of families.
But this is what happens when you get drafted No. 1 overall to a losing organization. You have to be the ultimate leader, be obsessively dedicated to improving your craft, and have the makeup to swim and not sink under all that weight until things get turned around.
If that sounds like a Herculean task, that's because it is. Look at the two QBs who followed Kyler as top picks.
Joe Burrow went to Cincinnati, got dropped back 70 times a game as a rookie behind a piss-poor offensive line, and eventually got his knee fucked six ways to Sunday. All he did the next two years was lead the Bengals to a Super Bowl and another AFC title game respectively. The Bengals had a shitty report card, too, but they're at least trending in the right direction and have had an almost-unbelievably positive culture change since Joey B came to town.
Trevor Lawrence had to deal with Urban Meyer's fuckery as a rookie, and started from square one this past offseason learning a whole new offense with a brand-new coaching staff. He somehow dragged the Jaguars to an AFC South title, a thrilling Wild Card win over the Chargers and hung tough with the Chiefs in the Divisional Round.
Overcoming dysfunction is part of the job description when you're the first pick in an entire draft. Kyler has failed to do that. You can blame the situation he's in all you want. It's valid to a certain point. Jacksonville started the 2022 season 3-7; Lawrence brought them back. Joe Brrr and the Bengals were down 0-2 and written off by almost everyone early. We saw what happened there.
Tough shit if you don't want to be compared to the best. If Kyler were in that class, we would've seen something like that already. As opposed to hitting adversity in the second half of the season, or the playoffs, and folding like a cheap suit.
Now look. To paraphrase the wondrous J.T. O'Sullivan: It can be all of those things, and...Kyler has plenty of time to, as Beachum states, grow up, be a better leader and capitalize on that insane talent of his.