A slew of journeymen ran the Cardinals offense during the 1990s

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Allsport) Dave Krieg
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Allsport) Dave Krieg /

The Arizona Cardinals offensive unit was engineered by a bevy of journeyman signal-callers during a large portion of the 1990s.

When the Arizona Cardinals franchise left St. Louis for the “Valley of the Sun” back in 1988, the team possessed one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Unfortunately, two-time Pro Bowler Neil Lomax would play for just one season in the desert before a chronic hip condition forced the 30-year-old into early retirement. The Cards would soon discover that replacing the talented signal-caller would be an extremely difficult task.

Over the next eight campaigns, the Redbirds would basically jump from one journeyman passer to the next. The one exception was Timm Rosenbach, a first-round supplemental draft selection who would start all 16 games for the Cardinals as a rookie in 1990. A rash of injuries, however, would propel Rosenbach into a premature retirement following the 1992 schedule.

The Arizona Cardinals franchise’s dry spell with quarterbacks began in 1989

The long dry spell at the signal-caller position began in 1989, with the acquisition of “Plan B” free agent Gary Hogeboom. A former fifth-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys, the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder served up a whopping 19 interceptions during his 5-8 stint as the Cards’ starter.

In 1991, the incredibly inept Tom Tupa notched a 4-7 record in his 11 starts for the Cardinals. Former World League of American Football star Stan Gelbaugh got the starting nod in a trio of matchups that year, and he lost all three. Free-agent addition Chris Chandler also got in on the fun, going 0-2 in a pair of starts for the Cards in 1991.

After missing the entire 1991 campaign with a knee injury, Rosenbach returned to make three losing starts for “Big Red” in 1992. Chandler was at the helm in the other 13 games, but the squad emerged victorious in just four.

When the following offseason rolled around, the front office plucked free agent Steve Beuerlein off of the roster of the Dallas Cowboys. The former fourth-round selection of the Los Angeles Raiders would post a 9-12 record over the next two years (1993-94) for the Cardinals.

In 1995, longtime Seattle Seahawks passer Dave Krieg tried his luck with the team. The experiment proved to be a total disaster when the aging veteran won just 4 out of his 16 starts for the Cards.

A year later, Norman “Boomer” Esiason brought his talent and experience to Arizona. Over a three-week period (all victories) in 1996, the 35-year old racked up 1,149 passing yards (including 522 in one game) and eight touchdown tosses. Unfortunately, the team would end up on the losing end of all five of the additional starts made by Esiason that season.

Over the course of two years (1996-97), the awful Kent Graham would log 14 starts for the Cardinals. Only five would result in wins, however.

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The Cards were rescued in 1998, when Jake “The Snake” Plummer would take over the franchise’s number-one quarterback gig for five consecutive seasons. The organization can only hope that current starter Kyler Murray will stay around for a lot longer than that.