Even though the Atlanta Legends have yet to play a game, most of the local fanbase should be familiar with starting quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray, of course, spent his collegiate tenure setting records with the Georgia Bulldogs. During his four-year collegiate career, Murray completed 62.3% of his passes for 13,166 yards, 121 touchdowns, and 41 interceptions. This impressive run earned him the school record for passing yards and the SEC record for touchdown passes.
Murray bounced around the NFL, but never managed to find a home. After spending some time working as a college football analyst, Murray earned another chance to jumpstart his career. The Legends selected Murray with the second-overall pick in the AAF quarterback draft, giving Murray his first chance to start at the professional level. Murray remained in Georgia following his collegiate tenure and now has the chance to serve as Georgia’s spring-league star in the Alliance of American Football League.
Update: Matt Simms unexpectedly earned the starting job over Aaron Murray. Move along…
Aaron Murray Looks to Capitalize on AAF Opportunity
Murray was first recruited to the league by veteran coach Brad Childress. Assisting Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy in last years’ minicamps, Childress noticed something special in Murray. Childress pulled the quarterback aside and told him about the opportunity provided by the AAF. Instead of spending his life on the bottom of a depth chart, Murray once more had a chance to start. That’s all it took for Murray, who said the opportunity to play under Childress sounded “awesome”.
Childress was supposed to be Atlanta’s head coach, but the 62-year old suddenly resigned one month before the start of the season. While Childress may be gone, Murray still remains. Serving as the unquestioned starter under new head coach Kevin Coyle and offensive coordinator Michael Vick, Murray has done everything in his power to ensure he and his teammates are ready for the start of the 2019 AAF season.
Prior to the start of training camp, Murray rounded up some of his receivers to get a head start on developing timing and chemistry. Twice a week, the grouping got together to study the playbook, run a few routes, and work on developing on- and off-field chemistry. After bouncing around the NFL, Murray knows it takes a strong work ethic to succeed at the professional level. Murray hasn’t played a meaningful snap since 2013, but he’s doing everything possible to make the most of his latest opportunity.
Aaron Murray’s Fit Under Michael Vick
One of the most interesting storylines throughout the AAF will revolve around former NFL quarterback Michael Vick. On the field, Vick was one of the most exciting and electric players in the history of football. Now on the sideline, Vick will try to bring his old explosiveness to Aaron Murray and the Legends’ offense.
Aaron Murray isn’t nearly as good an athlete as Vick, but the right coach can build an offense around him. Murray was a prolific passer at Georgia and should be able to succeed in the right system. The only question left is if Vick is the right man for the job.
Some worry if Vick’s coaching inexperience and improvisational play style will translate to an offensive coordinator position. While never known as a cerebral quarterback, Vick still managed to play in the NFL for 13 years. It’s impossible to spend that much time in professional football without picking up some football smarts. Additionally, Vick spent the 2017 training camp as a coaching intern with Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs. Reid is one of the best offensive minds in football, and he thought Vick was smart enough to join his coaching staff in some capacity.
Murray doesn’t have the athleticism to thrive in the NFL stage, but he showed brains and smart decision-making with the Georgia Bulldogs. The same Chiefs who drafted Murray also took Vick as a coaching intern, so Vick’s offensive system will likely play to Murray’s strengths. Obviously, there’s a lot still unknown about how Vick will handle offensive coordinator responsibilities. That said, there are encouraging signs that Murray and Vick will play well off each other and lead a powerful offense.
Last Word on Aaron Murray in the AAF
Chances are, any fan of the Atlanta Legends is already familiar with starting quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray spent four years with the Georgia Bulldogs, breaking just about every passing record while throwing more touchdown passes than any other player in SEC history. The NFL didn’t work out for him, but that didn’t stop Murray from pursuing his dream in the AAF. Back in Georgia, Murray looks to continue his professional career.
Murray still possesses the will to win, as the 28-year old organized meeting with his teammates prior to training camp. Murray organized several meetings with his fellow teammates, developing chemistry with his receivers while also helping to break down the playbook.
Murray’s ultimate success comes down to how he fits in Michael Vick’s offense. Vick has minimal coaching experience but is a 13-year NFL veteran synonymous with highlight-worthy explosive plays. Murray doesn’t have the athleticism to replicate Vick’s style of play, but Vick’s professional experience should naturally lend itself to running an offense. Look for a motivated Murray to come out of the gate hot in the AAF season opener.
Embed from Getty Images