Kyler Murray appeared for his Wednesday Zoom media session in better spirits.
The bar for that was relatively low coming off a Sunday postgame press conference that followed his Arizona Cardinals’ 34-31 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
On Sunday, he answered questions shortly after taking long pauses with visible frustration on his face. The team-provided transcription had Murray speaking 122 whole words immediately after the loss.
He was conversational and even optimistic on Wednesday. Murray went 767 more words.
Among them, he explained Wednesday how he manages losses.
“A loss is a loss,” he said. “We’re not going to be too happy but I’ve kind of — I’m not going to say I’ve gotten better with it — but I’ve definitely learned how to see the positives from a game and take the good with the bad.
“I got to be positive, I’ve got to be optimistic. This is a long season. This isn’t college football,” he added. “Obviously we don’t want to let any slip but we got a long season ahead of us.”
There were indeed positives to take away from his own performance against Miami, which dropped Arizona to a 5-3 record. While Murray’s lost fumble on the first possession Sunday was returned to give the Dolphins a 7-0 advantage, the second-year pro did everything he could to make up for it.
He threw for 283 yards by completing 21 of his 26 passes for three touchdowns without another turnover. He also rushed for a career-high 106 yards, scoring a touchdown on the ground.
From an individual standpoint, well, Murray couldn’t have done much more after the strip-sack turnover. It was historic in the worst of ways.
The fact that Arizona could have taken further control of their own destiny by catching the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks maybe played into the Cardinals’ frustrations. Then again, the fact Arizona is within a game’s reach at the halfway point of the season is cause for optimism.
It’s Murray’s palpable anger in postgame pressers and how he responds with the chips stacked against him that endears the quarterback to teammates like Christian Kirk, who has known Murray ever since the high school camp circuit.
“He’s still just as hard on himself,” Kirk said Wednesday. “You would think we just lost the Super Bowl. That’s how hard on himself he is. He just cares so much, he’s so competitive.”
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Sunday that Murray’s frustration levels weren’t due to the fact that he played so well in a loss. It was just that it was that — a loss.
But that short press conference did display Murray’s personality to fans, many of whom, quite upset about the loss themselves, appreciate the sentiment.