Although the days are growing shorter (and hopefully cooler), there is always a sense of optimism in the air with the NFL preseason coming just around the corner. Actually, it’s already here thanks to the Hall of Fame Game taking place last Thursday, but for the league’s other 30 teams, including the Arizona Cardinals, the NFL season officially starts this week.
And even for a team slated to do nothing this season, there are still plenty of reasons to get excited about the Redbirds. We could have a quarterback competition on our hands, among other notable position battles. And since the Cardinals are young, there is a chance that we will see rookies gain extended playing time in the preseason and work their way into significant roles at some point in 2023.
So what’s going on with the quarterbacks, the rooks, and some notable position battles? We will explore these burning questions and provide some much-needed clarity below.
Burning question heading into Week 1 of Arizona Cardinals preseason
1 - How much playing time will Colt McCoy and Clayton Tune get?
As it stands, Colt McCoy will head into the game as the QB1 and will likely play two series tops. Clayton Tune, one of my Top 3 Cardinals to watch this week, should get an extended look if he plays well in the early going.
Thanks to the fact he will most likely get more playing time, expect Tune to enjoy the better performance in this one. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet: The rookie quarterback will be playing against backups, and he likely won’t be facing any confusing blitz packages this week.
2 - Which rookies will see extended playing time?
We know Tune should be one of them (see above section), but don’t be surprised when the likes of Owen Pappoe, Dante Stills, and Kei’Trel Clark see their respective numbers called often. Each can realistically end up as a starter at some point this year, perhaps even Week 1 if they showcase enough skill in the preseason.
Like Tune, if they look like they can hold their own vs. the Denver Broncos, look for Jonathan Gannon and Nick Rallis to leave them in there. And if that’s the case, then they just moved one step closer to at least an increased role in 2023.
3 - Who will emerge as the leading candidate in LB, CB2 position battles?
There are many question marks on defense and all over the Arizona Cardinals depth chart, but the LB and CB2 spots remain among the most interesting - next to quarterback, that is. As it stands, I’m expecting to see Josh Woods penciled in next to Kyzir White and Christian Matthew slated to line up opposite Marco Wilson.
Other viable candidates include Krys Barnes and Owen Pappoe at linebacker, and Kei’Trel Clark, Antonio Hamilton, and Rashad Fenton at cornerback. We won’t wait long to find out, as the depth chart will be released later this week.