Sharp Criticism for Kyler Murray: Fair or Foul?

Sharp Criticism for Kyler Murray: Fair or Foul?

Chris Samuel, Contributor

In 2018, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray had one of the most impressive seasons in history, statistically. Even with all the accolades and praise, scouts and executives have said some “controversial” things to say the least.

A standout for the Sooners, Murray posted historic numbers. Murray completed 69% of his passes, threw for 4,361 yards and added 42 touchdown passes with only seven interceptions. On the ground, Murray rushed for 1,001 yards and had 12 rushing touchdowns as well.

Those numbers helped him win the Heisman Trophy, becoming the second consecutive Oklahoma quarterback to win it after Baker Mayfield. Murray also led the Sooners to the National Semifinals, but lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Orange Bowl 45-34.

Recently during the NFL Combine, Murray received harsh criticism from NFL Network analyst and former executive Charley Casserly.

After his workout at the combine, Casserly made the statements of saying that Murray had “The worst report I’ve ever heard on a top ranked quarterback”.

ESPN Senior Writer Todd McShay has Murray projected going number one overall to the Arizona Cardinals.

Casserly, who has been involved in the NFL for over thirty years, received backlash for his statements on Murray’s work ethic, leadership and  mindset during the combine.

Casserly also added the statement on Murray saying “Leadership, not good. Study habits, not good. The board work, below not good”.

Casserly was also very critical of incumbent starter and the number 10 overall pick in the 2018 Draft quarterback Josh Rosen, who now plays for the Cardinals.

Before Rosen’s rookie season Casserly stated that Rosen is “a selfish loner” and that “he doesn’t work hard enough”.

With the criticism of Murray, the comments did not sit well with ESPN sports anchor Stephen A. Smith. When the story of Casserly ran on ESPN’s First Take, Smith stated that he found the criticism of Murray to be “offensive” and “egregious”.

Smith pointed out a stereotype that he assumed Casserly was picking on black quarterbacks, meaning that they are more lazy or less of a good leader rather than white quarterbacks or players in general.

Murray has not had any behavior issues that have made the public or no reports about Murray has been stated that he was a bad teammate or player by his coaches or teammates at Oklahoma.

When asked about the Casserly comments, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley responded “to me, it sounds always seems strange – you’re going to go on and talk like you’re an expert on somebody that you’ve never met. You’ve never talked to his position coach at any level about him, and you never talked to any players who’ve played with the guy about how he leads. Now we’re going to be an expert on how he leads”. With Riley’s comments, he also made the point of Murray winning on all levels and the program never having a problem with Murray.

With the first round of the NFL Draft being on April 25, many predict Murray will be the number one overall pick which belongs to the aforementioned Cardinals. A trade that involves  Rosen being moved is a likely outcome if new Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury gets Murray, who he said he would draft number one overall if he were in the position to do so. Kingsbury who made the comments when he was the head coach at Texas Tech in October.

Murray was also selected in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft to the Oakland Athletics, but chose football over baseball earlier this year. Some critics and even players are saying he is making a mistake, mostly due to his miniature size (5’10, 207 lbs.) and the fact that it is a safer sport to play with no salary cap. Other quarterbacks have shined under six feet tall though including Russell Wilson, Doug Flutie and Drew Brees. With Murray’s great poise and playmaking, his skills might do the talking for him in the long run.