I saw a curious statement from Aaron Murray in regards to the grade he received from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee. Said Murray when asked about his round projection ($)—had he decided to bolt for the pros this season—it was “Not as high as it will be next year.”
When you consider that statement in conjunction with the following one made by Murray, in reference to what he will decide to do after next season, “I can’t predict what’s going to happen,we’ll see how next season goes.”, it’s pretty clear that 2012 could end up being Murray’s swan song—especially now that Orson Charles is gone.
If there is anything Murray has seemed to lack over the last two years, it would appear to be a “signature win” for Georgia. And while he beat both Florida and Auburn in 2011, his biggest tests were truly against Boise State, South Carolina, LSU, and Michigan State.
If Murray hopes to lose any questions regarding his ability to take Georgia to the next level, he’ll need to start doing more to smooth out the rough edges of his quarterback personality. For one, I would love to see him trusting his teammates more.
Georgia has multiple options on offense yet Murray often locks on to just one and appears willing to live and die with that guy’s ability to catch the ball. He did it in 2010 with A.J. Green and Kris Durham and again in 2011 with Orson Charles and Malcolm Mitchell—and it didn’t seem to matter if those guys were heavily covered, either.
Murray, at least in my opinion, simply hasn’t done the best job of scanning the field and quickly assessing his options through the air. Now, how much of that is attributable to breakdowns in pass protection is, of course, debatable.
But, even giving him the benefit of the doubt leaves questions about his repeatedly poor decisions to hold onto the ball too long or fail to take advantage of running lanes when they do open up for him—lanes that, in some cases, have the possibility of producing a first down.
And there continues to be the questions as to his feeling the need to do too much after he makes a mistake. In each one of Georgia’s most high-profile games this season, Murray either fumbled or threw an interception. He never seemed to recover from those mistakes quickly enough to get back to being effective and that made him a less reliable quarterback in the pocket—in my opinion.
Now, it goes without saying that there is more to consider than just Murray’s play where the success—or lack thereof—of the Georgia offense is concerned.
The running game has to get better, the offensive play calling needs to become less predictable, and the overall approach the offense takes to playing the second-half of games (i.e. playing not to lose) must change. But even when taking all of those things under consideration, Georgia’s offensive success will begin and end with Murray, in the eyes of many, and 2012 needs to see him finally becoming the consistent, championship-level, quarterback, so many saw him being when he arrived at Georgia in 2009.