Few quarterbacks drafted in the fifth round get an opportunity to start games within the first three months of the season. Oftentimes, they’ll see a start late in the year if either the playoffs are out of the question, or if a team has already secured a playoff spot and is resting their starters. But for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Clayton Tune, his chance comes in Week 9.
Tune was the go-to quarterback in the preseason, where he threw for 353 yards while completing 34 of 59 passing attempts, good for a 57.6 completion percentage. He also threw for one touchdown pass and one interception, though the latter wasn’t on him, thanks to Rondale Moore slipping on his route.
Most of Tune’s work came against backups, however, so this is the first time in his career that he will know what it’s like to face not just a starting defense, but the best the league will offer. It will be a test for the 24-year-old, no doubt, and regardless of how he fares, he’s making his mark somewhere.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback looking to make a good first impression
Overall, Tune showed enough in the preseason to entice the Cardinals to part ways with David Blough and to keep Jeff Driskel on and off the practice squad. Bough and Driskel are both former backups in this league, and Tune beat them out rather easily.
No, he didn’t show the Arizona Cardinals enough for the team to exert their faith in him as a full-time starter, but few late-round draft picks at quarterback will do that. For now, at least, he’s shown head coach Jonathan Gannon, general manager Monti Ossenfort, and the Cardinals organization that he’s capable of at least getting a look as the starting quarterback.
Tune must make the most of his opportunity, however, since he could be one-and-done as the starter if the Cards feel Murray is ready to return in Week 10. Regardless of what happens, Arizona must at least activate him off the PUP list by then if he is to play in 2023–and spoiler alert, he will be activated.
But as for right now, it’s Tune Time. And it’s up to him to leave a good first impression as an NFL starter. If he does, then the Cards know they have a good insurance policy for Murray. If not, then, well, they should get Murray back next week, if not shortly after.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com)