Arizona Cardinals position grades: Murray’s performance saved the quarterbacks

The Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation was a mystery heading into 2023, and that mystery continued until Week 10 of the 2023 NFL Season.

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals
Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals / Jennifer Stewart/GettyImages
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The Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation was one of the most curious in the NFL, as during the 2023 offseason, we all thought Colt McCoy would take the reins and ride out the first half of the year as the starter. When it became apparent McCoy could no longer throw the ball efficiently, the Cardinals cut him and traded for Joshua Dobbs, who had his moments. 

However, he also finished the season 1-7 as the Cardinals starter and was never consistent. The offense sputtered under Dobbs when opponents figured out how to stop the journeyman, and general manager Monti Ossenfort ultimately traded the underwhelming passer to the Minnesota Vikings. Curiously enough, Dobbs’ experience in Minneapolis mirrored what we saw in Arizona - a solid start, only for him to regress into what he’s always been - a fringe backup. 

The trade opened things up for rookie Clayton Tune to snag his first career start, but that experience ended in the worst offensive performance of the season. While Tune was working without a No. 1 receiver and the Cardinals top two backs, he played worse than Ryan Lindley and never started another game.

Kyler Murray stabilized the Arizona Cardinals ailing quarterback situation

In Week 10, Kyler Murray finally returned and saw his first in-game action in 10 months, leading the Cardinals to a much-needed win over the Atlanta Falcons. While the signal-caller struggled in the next two games, he enjoyed a resurgence in Week 13 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that forced the warm-weather Cardinals to also win the battle against the elements.

Murray regressed in Week 15 vs. the San Francisco 49ers, but few quarterbacks played them well this season, before he ended up with a decent second half performance against the Chicago Bears. That set the stage for a legendary outing the following week in one of the NFL’s most improbable wins of the year against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

The win improved Murray’s record to 3-4 on the year, and he enjoyed yet another strong outing in Week 18, putting the Arizona Cardinals in a prime position to finish the season with a win. While that didn’t happen thanks to kicker Matt Prater suffering a lean final three minutes of the year, Murray still earned the position respect it hadn’t had in quite some time. 

Overall, the Cardinals would have received an F had Murray not played all season, but since he returned and made the team competitive in most contests, the group earns a solid C-minus. This doesn’t mean Murray deserves an A for individual performances, but he made the most of an undermanned group. 

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(Data provided by Pro-Football-Reference)