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Jonathan Gannon: Everything will be structured to maximize our QB — and we have an elite one

Mike Florio and Chris Simms analyze a potentially risky decision by the Cardinals to hire Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon as the team's next head coach given Kyler Murray's recent state of play.

As a new head coach whose specialty is defense, Jonathan Gannon has to hire the right offensive coordinator to help develop Kyler Murray.

Gannon was asked about that process early on in his introductory press conference on Thursday and had some complimentary things to say about his new quarterback, going as far as calling Murray “elite.”

“That’s step one, we’re starting to look at some different candidates [for OC] and looking at interviewing some different people in the next 48 hours,” Gannon said. “But I have a very specific vision of how I want to play on offense. And the person that comes in here to run the offense is going to understand that everything we do will be structured around the quarterback position to maximize his skillset — and we have an elite one.

“We also have some elite players at different positions already on the roster that I’m very excited to work with. And that’s what we’re going to do.”

Gannon added that he prioritizes creating explosive plays and protecting the football because they’re “winning stats.”

“Just as an overall, general philosophy of being adaptable, we’re going to maximize Kyler’s skillset,” Gannon said. “We’re going to be adaptable. We’re going to generate explosives. We’re going to protect the football and be situationally smart.”

While Murray is still recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, he is set up to be the Cardinals’ quarterback for years to come after signing an extension through 2028 last offseason.

The No. 1 pick of the 2019 draft and the 2019 AP offensive rookie of the year, Murray has completed 67 percent of his passes for 13,848 yards with 84 touchdowns and 41 interceptions in his four seasons, starting 57 games. he’s also rushed for 2,204 yards with 23 touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per carry.

In 11 games in 2022, Murray completed 66 percent of his throws for 2,368 yards with 14 touchdowns and seven picks while rushing for 418 yards with three TDs.