Cardinals QB Kyler Murray to start Sunday if no setbacks

TEMPE, Ariz. -- If all continues to go well this week for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray he will make his season debut Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, coach Jonathan Gannon said Monday.

Murray, who hasn't played since Week 14 of the 2022 season when he tore his right ACL three plays into a "Monday Night Football" game against the New England Patriots, will take all the reps with the first-team offense and continue to "ramp up," Gannon said.

"Pleased where he is at right now," Gannon said. "We'll see how the week goes."

The Cardinals activated Murray on Tuesday, officially adding him to the 53-man roster from the physically unable to perform list. Should Murray not be able to go Sunday, rookie Clayton Tune will get his second straight start, Gannon said Monday.

Gannon said the last two steps of Murray's return are the reps with the first team and then, of course, playing in a live game for the first time in 11 months. However, the coach warned that at first Murray might not the be the dynamic player he was pre-injury.

"We got to be willing to understand that it might not look like Kyler," Gannon said. "And I think he's got a good expectation of that. The coaches have a good expectation of that, but I know this: He's going to come out there and play his game and help us win."

Gannon said the health of the Cardinals won't impact whether Murray plays. Arizona lost two starting offensive linemen Sunday in Cleveland after already being down starting tight end Zach Ertz and wide receiver Michael Wilson. Running back James Conner is eligible to come off injured reserve this week.

"If he's out on the field, we feel good about him being healthy enough to play," Gannon said of Murray. "Every team in the NFL's banged up and we'll put our best foot forward and get the right pieces in there and give ourselves a chance to win a game."

Thus far, Murray has done everything Gannon has asked of him and has led by example, the coach said.

"He's excited to get back in in the huddle and assume a little bit of that leadership role being in the huddle as well," Gannon said.

Murray returned to practice Oct. 18 and was slowly reintegrated into the offense through sharing first-team reps with Joshua Dobbs and then Tune. He spent the past two weeks throwing to practice squad receivers during the open portion of practice while splitting first-team reps.

That's changing this week as Murray ramps up.

"It's fun to be around him at practice," Gannon said. "He's ultracompetitive and wants to play football, but everything that he's been doing up until this point to get himself ready to go both on and off the field, rehab, with the health stuff, with the mental stuff about playing quarterback, he's far exceeded my expectations right now."