Kliff Kingsbury expects Kyler Murray to play 'best game of his career'
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals' Kliff Kingsbury expects Kyler Murray to play 'best game of his career' at Rams

On Wednesday, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed to reporters that All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins won't play in Monday's prime-time wild-card playoff game at the Los Angeles Rams because of the Dec. 13 knee injury that required surgery.

That isn't lowering Kingsbury's expectations for third-year quarterback Kyler Murray, who will make his postseason debut at the Rams in front of national and worldwide audiences on Monday evening. 

"I think this is what he's been waiting for for three years," Kingsbury said of his QB1, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. "He's a guy who wants to be playing for something and knows he's playing for something.

"This is his first shot at the playoffs, and I expect him to probably play the best game of his career. I know he's going to give it everything he's got."

The Cardinals and Rams split their regular-season series, but Arizona stumbled into the playoffs with a 1-4 record over its past five games. Kingsbury still doesn't know if star defensive end J.J. Watt will be available against the Rams as the three-time Defensive Player of the Year attempts to return from the shoulder injury that cost him over two months of action, but the coach nevertheless seemed confident his young signal-caller is ready for Monday's must-win situation. 

"It's been a grind, three years of trying to build this thing to get into the playoffs, day in and day out, a lot of ups and downs; I know he's just looking forward to this opportunity and he'll give everything he's got," Kingsbury added in his comments about Murray. 

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