Baby Steps

Baby Steps

When the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Georgia Quarterback, Aaron Murray a few weeks ago, it represented a shift in the philosophy that's guided this franchise since it's inception. As fans, it's time we embrace that change but also heed it's warning that patience is the key moving forward.

No one fan of the Kansas City Chiefs was happier the team selected Georgia Quarterback, Aaron Murray, than yours truly. In my view, he was the third best signal caller in the 2014 NFL Draft and he's a perfect fit for Head Coach, Andy Reid.

The fact Reid has an innate talent to develop quarterbacks with a plethora of size and skill sets, makes the addition of Murray to his roster a wonderful event in the history of this franchise.

Knowing he already has a talented veteran, Alex Smith, in hand plus the highly touted, Tyler Bray, entering his second NFL season, Murray's place on the roster is nothing more than building depth.

In the future, that could all change. If Smith's contract situation, heads south (which I don't believe will be the case), then Bray and Murray will get their chance sooner rather than later.

The good news is that with Reid at the helm, I have no doubts either Murray or Bray can lead the Chiefs into the playoffs and win games in the post-season tournament. Until then, all they can do is absorb the way Smith works, listen to the coaches and trust the skills that put them on an NFL roster together.

With Murray, there is a different vibe you get at the infancy of his NFL journey. He's a winner in every category and his presence leads you to believe he pasts the litmus test as a potential NFL starter.

Don't get me wrong I like Bray as well but Murray had much more success at Georgia than his counterpart did at Tennessee. In fact, some would argue, they had equal talent around them and Murray just did more with it at the collegiate level.

Regardless of that debate, it will be up to Reid to get them both up to speed at the NFL level. As he threw for the first time on Saturday, the Chiefs were cautious to respect Murray's path from season ending knee surgery last November.

"We've been keeping a close eye on him. Rick (Burkholder) has been keeping a close eye on him. He's done everything up to this point. He went through today's work and it will keep getting stronger as he goes," Reid said.

"This was good because this was the first time there was a pass rush on him, so he had to move around a little bit. You got to see his movement ability."

That mobility was a trademark of Murray's game at Georgia. Entering the NFL he possesses terrific pocket awareness. In fact, there might not be a better quarterback from the 2014 class that understands the importance of stepping up in the pocket or moving to his right or left to avoid oncoming pass rushers, like Murray. He knows every second counts in the pocket. That puts him ahead of the curve because you can't teach that.

Still the debate on his potential success long term has already surfaced within the Chiefs nation. Some view Murray as the steal of the Draft - while others look at him as nothing more than a back-up quarterback. Time will tell which side of that coin wins out.

For Murray, all he can do right now is learn the playbook and adjust to the speed of the game. He has a tremendous coaching staff around him and he walks into the NFL without any expectations he has to become a rookie starter. Add that with the fact he's a student of the game, he already understands what must be done in order to make a successful transition into the NFL.

"Just getting your nose in the playbook, learn as much as you can," Murray said Saturday.

"You can't go out there and execute, you can't go out here and play to your full potential or play fast when you're thinking. That's the hard part for all the rookies where we can be sometimes hesitant because we don't exactly get what we're doing, so the best thing we can do and the thing I've been doing day-in and day-out is just studying my playbook, making sure I know the thing in and out so when I come out it's just playing, reacting and making throws."

That's what makes Murray so special. He has a firm grasp on the position itself and knows his NFL path begins with baby steps over and over again – until the point in time his number is finally called upon to lead the Chiefs offense.

How soon the two converge on the field itself may not play out for years. But should it happen before then, Murray will be ready.




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