The Arizona Cardinals would be tanking if they kept Colt McCoy

It’s easy to poke fun at rebuilding teams like the Arizona Cardinals when they make supposedly questionable moves, and that’s okay.
Aug 11, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy (12) warms up prior
Aug 11, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy (12) warms up prior / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals have officially become the laughingstock of the NFL, but that’s okay. The rest of the NFL universe can laugh at them, but in actuality, general manager Monti Ossenfort and Company are, and should be, the ones laughing. But they are too classy and too secure to be laughing, so I commend them for ignoring the noise and going to work each and every day.

Why is that? Because most of the NFL universe neither has a clue nor do they understand what Ossenfort and his staff are doing in the desert, even if they believe otherwise. 

This isn’t to say the Cards aren’t looking to the future - rebuilding teams with young rosters and first-year regimes often are. But as I’ve mentioned several times in recent weeks, the Redbirds aren’t tanking, or if they are, they’re not tanking properly.

And somehow, cutting quarterback Colt McCoy has once again raised speculation that this team is in tank mode. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a single time in NFL history when cutting a quarterback who had a hard time throwing the ball 10 yards downfield in the preseason qualifies as tanking. Take the following quote from The Ringer:

"“Why would the Arizona Cardinals, who have an injured franchise quarterback, cut their only experienced backup QB to save essentially pennies in salary cap space? Why would they do that? This Arizona team isn’t creating space for the NFL equivalent of Kevin Durant. The Cardinals are doing quite the opposite.”"

Austin Gayle

Source: Are the Cardinals Tanking, or Do They Just Not Have a Plan?

The Arizona Cardinals aren’t tanking for cutting a 36-year-old 

Why did the Arizona Cardinals cut Colt McCoy? Because they traded for Josh Dobbs, a backup who, at this point, gives the Redbirds a better chance to win than the ailing McCoy. And they already have enough cap space, so cutting McCoy isn’t exactly a “cap savings” move. Nor will most of the other 40 fringe roster players they will inevitably cut ties with later today.

Colt McCoy also isn’t a long-term answer as the backup, but Josh Dobbs can be. Clayton Tune can also be a QB2 for the long-term. Not McCoy, who following his elbow issues in the offseason, couldn’t throw an accurate pass beyond 10 yards. 

For weeks, anyone who paid even the slightest attention to the Cardinals knew McCoy was done. And it was basically confirmed following an abysmal pair of joint practice sessions with the Minnesota Vikings. McCoy was also terrible all preseason long, averaging 4.3 yards per pass vs. the Denver Broncos and a paltry 3.1 yards per vs. Kansas City.

You can argue that if the Arizona Cardinals were in full tank mode, the smartest thing they could have done was to hang onto McCoy and let him start. Opponents know he’s not completing any pass over 10 yards, so defending him would be equivalent to playing a scout teamer who last took significant reps at quarterback in high school.

Meanwhile, Tune showed dual threat ability in his preseason sample, and his accuracy dramatically improved between Preseason Weeks 2 and 3. He also (mostly) extended plays and took chances downfield. 

As for inexperience, Tune has a decent one-two punch at running back and an offensive line good enough to open holes for running backs James Conner and Keaontay Ingram. So “inexperienced mess” to describe Dobbs and Tune isn’t the best phrase out there. Regardless of their experience and Dobbs and Tune’s respective “inexperience,” the duo gives the Arizona Cardinals a much better chance to win than a dramatically declining Colt McCoy would have in 2023.


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