The Bears are calling the Cardinals’ bluff on starting quarterback Kyler Murray.
While Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury listed Murray as questionable and said Friday he would be a game-time decision Sunday, all of the Bears’ preparations this week were made with the assumption that they’ll face Murray, despite him missing the last three games with a high ankle sprain.
But Kingsbury did his best to create at least a little uncertainty.
“There’s obviously some cat-and-mouse in this sport, but . . . we were going to be overly cautious this entire time, and we still are,” Kingsbury said. “We want to make sure when we get him back he’s playing at a high level and he can’t reinjure it to a point that we lose him for a substantial amount of time.”
Cat-and-mouse just so happens to be Bears coach Matt Nagy’s favorite game, and he has played it often with his cast of quarterbacks the last four seasons. But few opponents have done it to the Bears.
Murray is one of the favorites to win MVP this season with a league-best 110.4 passer rating. He is averaging 284.5 yards per game — the Bears have hit that number just twice this season — and has 17 touchdown passes against seven interceptions.
He has had more than a month off since the injury, and the Cardinals went 2-1 in his absence with Colt McCoy as their starter. He completed 76% of his passes, averaged 228 yards and posted a 103.2 passer rating.
“You’ve just got to go off of what we think,” Nagy said. “Kyler has had some time off, but at the same point in time, you never know. You’ve gotta go off of what they’re saying. We’ve always got to plan for the starter [to play].”