Kyler Murray may not win 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year. The AP has elected a running back for the award three out of the last four years, and Vegas odds have Raiders rookie Josh Jacobs favored to win this year, even after Jacobs missed Oakland's pivotal Week 16 matchup against the Chargers.
That doesn't make a whole bunch of sense. Murray has so much more on his shoulders than Jacobs does. Murray touches the ball every snap. He has the 10th most pass attempts in the NFL. He only has 12 turnovers all year. His head coach is a rookie, just like him. Jacobs has had a great year, but he's a running back. He touches the ball about 20 times per game. He's not expected to be a leader. He's third in line when it comes to podium-importance.
But whatever thoughts Murray has about awards like these, he probably won't make them public. And that's the most encouraging part about the rookie quarterback. His ethos is, underpromise, overdeliver. It's the antithesis of his Oklahoma predecessor. It's sustainable. Playing the only position in sports where leadership is a prerequisite for success, Kyler Murray has the demeanor of a long term solution at quarterback.
I think at some point in everybody's career, we learn that quiet is better. Denzel Washington said it best in one of the best movies of all time.
You know what being quiet does? It strips down unnecessary distractions. Most people's problem with arrogance is that they find it obnoxious. My problem with it is that it adds levels of unnecessary hysteria. When Baker Mayfield plants the flag at Ohio State, the Nick Bosa's of the world never forget, the media inherits three new segment ideas and the young people of Twitter start worshiping Mayfield for his "swagger", not his play. Loud people like Mayfield reap the benefits of social media love, but their behavior becomes inherently about pleasing the crowd, rather than doing the important things. Mayfield spent his offseason battling with media members, holding grudges and shooting commercials, with a little football squeezed in between. This season he's thrown 19 touchdowns to 18 interceptions, and his wide receivers have been trying to get away from him all season.
Kyler said he'd never do the stuff Baker does. He also won't get the same recognition, as the OROY race illustrates. Good. It's poison. Early-career acclaim does nothing but provide an oxytocin boost. Quarterbacks don't even grasp the position fully until several years into their careers. Year one is about showing the league something new. Year two is about how you play after coordinators watched your film for an entire offseason. Year three is the leap year. Years four and on are about carrying a roster that's depleted because you take up a disproportionate amount of the salary cap. There are levels to the quarterback position. Good luck leveling up when your mind is on awards, media members and commercials.
Kyler's quiet, soft spoken and plays in a nationally irrelevant market. His entire ethos is anti-hype. For that reason, awards like Offensive Rookie of the Year will be hard to come by. But, Cardinals fans have spent the better part of two decades watching Larry Fitzgerald prove that hype is overrated. They get it. So does Kyler.