The Arizona Cardinals have a new coach in Johnathan Gannon and a new GM in Monti Ossenfort. Is it time for the Cardinals to change the QB too?
Steve Wilks got saddled with Josh Rosen and only lasted a year. With Murray sidelined due to a torn ACL, should they cut bait now?
Before I get to who should replace Murray, know that it isn’t all his fault. Unlike the Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona has never been known for their running game. Per Pro football reference, Arizona has only had 2 running backs finish in the Top 10 in rushing twice in the last 35 years: David Johnson(7th) in 2016 and Edgerrin James(7th) in 2007. If you need Top 5, Ottis Anderson was 3rd in 1980.
That’s a long time to be a passing offense only.
The other thing is this is a franchise in which Kurt Warner took to the Super Bowl, but the most iconic moment in recent Cardinals history is when Bill Gramatica tore his ACL after a made field goal.
You think of the successful quarterbacks in Cardinals history like Kurt Warner, Jim Hart, Neil Lomax and Jake Plummer. Most were dropback qb’s, while Plummer had some mobility. Maybe it’s time to go back to the pocket passer and let a team that can keep Murray safe take him and remold him.
So if they start anew, which QB should lead this team in 2023?
The candidates are not inspiring.
- Colt McCoy is probably the best bet for now. The career backup may not win games with his arm, but won’t lose them with bad turnovers.
- Clayton Tune is the rookie from the University of Houston, who projects as a backup plus like another alum in Case Keenum, as opposed to a backup minus type like Nathan Peterman.
- Ex Lions QB David Blough is here, and has shown enough to be #2 on game day behind McCoy in 2023.
- Jeff Driskel probably doesn’t make this team if this group stays healthy. Houston Texans used him as a gimmick guy, which didn’t work with Chris Sterveler.
So what happens in 2024?
If they are bad enough to get a top pick, Caleb Williams(USC) and Drake Maye(North Carolina) are going to be on the Cardinals radar. For a lower round pick, Spencer Rattler(South Carolina) is from Arizona, so they might look at him as a project unless SEC play inflates his value.
The other option would be to go after an established QB. There doesn’t seem to be an Aaron Rodgers type that will try to force their way off a team, but there are a few choices:
- Trey Lance: Arm strength seems weaker than his college days, but might show improvement if getting first team reps.
- Bailey Zappe: Looks like someone worth taking a chance on if he can’t beat out Mac Jones.
- Tua Tagovailoa: Could buy low if Miami gets scared off by the injuries. Might be a risk worth taking when you realize that between his Rams and Cardinals career, Kurt Warner only started 16 games 3 times. Each time they reached the Super Bowl, so banking on one healthy year from Tua might make sense.
- Easton Stick: Another NDSU player like Lance, and Wentz, for that matter, he won’t get a chance to be QB1 with Justin Herbert around. Maybe he steps up like Jake Delhomme did when he went to the Carolina Panthers.
It may be a long season in Arizona, but if the effort is there, with or without Murray, Gannon can set the foundation for the next franchise QB to show up in 2024.