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Carolina Panthers

Notebook: Kyler Murray a "rare, rare, rare" challenge

Kyler Murray

CHARLOTTE — Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has seen firsthand what quarterback Kyler Murray can do.

That's why he was quick to point out Wednesday how difficult it was going to be to slow down the Cardinals quarterback this week and how many people it was going to take.

"He can do it all, and he's fearless," Rhule said. "So I think the key for us is, we've got to focus on ourselves. We understand the problems, we can't go out there and be reckless, but we can't go out there and play tentative. We have to rush Kyler the way we do everybody else. We have to trust our coverage, and everyone do their job, and understand that everybody on defense has to run to the ball."

When he was coaching at Baylor, Rhule faced Murray's Oklahoma team in 2018, and got the full experience.

Murray threw six touchdowns and ran for another one in that game, a 66-33 Sooners win, which clearly got Rhule's attention.

Rhule called Murray a "rare, rare, rare" player (that's three rares, in case you're counting) and said Murray's work in an overtime win against the Raiders this year was "magical."

"I saw him do things in college that made me just want to walk off the field," Rhule said. "We sacked him and knocked the ball out of his hands, it bounced on the ground three times; he picked it up and threw it for an 18-yard first down. He's one of the most amazing players I've ever seen."

Murray didn't play when the Panthers beat the Cardinals last November, but he threw for three touchdowns and ran for 78 yards in 2020, and threw for two touchdowns and two interceptions and ran for 69 yards when the Panthers beat the Cardinals in 2019.

— Rhule didn't elaborate much on running back Christian McCaffrey's status after he appeared on the injury report with a thigh issue that popped up "after the game."

McCaffrey has generally gotten Wednesdays off anyway, and Rhule said he was "taking care of himself right now; he's getting his body right."

— Panthers players came into the locker room Wednesday to find some new shirts with a large 51 and Keep Pounding on them, in honor of this weekend's festivities honoring Hall of Famer Sam Mills.

They're a new design from the ones they wore during training camp to honor the legendary linebacker and assistant coach, whose mantra from a speech in the 2003 playoffs has remained a cornerstone of the franchise's identity.

You can see more about what's going on as part of the celebration of Mills' legacy by clicking here.

— Alumni day is becoming a regular thing, with former linebacker Thomas Davis on hand at practice Wednesday, where he spent some time on the sidelines talking with assistant general manager and former linebacker Dan Morgan.

View photos from Wednesday's practice as the Panthers prepare to take on the Cardinals this weekend.

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