Every year, The Athletic hands out report cards for each NFL team at midseason, and you may be surprised to learn that the Arizona Cardinals have received an ‘A.’ But how can a team that is 1-8 receive an ‘A,’ especially following their worst loss of the 2023 season?
The Athletic looks like they have jumped on the “Cardinals are tanking” bandwagon, even if such petty evidence of a tank exists. Like many believing in the aforementioned claim, they are ignoring the obvious injury bug that hit the Cards (again), the fact that the Cards never held a fire sale (often closely associated with tanking), and to top things off, they’re starting their franchise quarterback this week.
How one can still remotely claim that this team is tanking is beyond me, especially when you break down a recent quote from Josh Kendall of The Athletic that implied the Joshua Dobbs trade was done to keep the tank afloat.
"”They have executed their rebuilding plan exactly how they planned. They had to trade away Josh Dobbs and start Clayton Tune (who had 58 yards and a 20.8 passer rating Sunday) to keep the tanking train on track, but so be it. Now, all eyes turn to how Arizona handles Kyler Murray, who is healthy enough to play but might help this team win games.”"- Josh Kendall
Trading Joshua Dobbs was actually a brilliant move by the Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals didn’t trade Joshua Dobbs so they could “keep tanking.” They traded Dobbs because he was in the final year of his contract anyway, so they wanted to get something for him, which is a sixth-round pick since it seems like Dobbs will be the guy in Minnesota, as Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com pointed out.
They knew Kyler Murray was returning and they also drafted Clayton Tune to be the potential backup, and he would be more cost-effective than keeping Dobbs around. Since the trade deadline occurred on Halloween, the Cards had no choice but to execute the move last week, while obviously planning to use the entirety of Murray’s three-week window, meaning he was never starting until Week 10.
That left Clayton Tune to be the starting quarterback by default, so it had nothing to do with tanking. If the Cards were really in a tank, Tune would be starting this Sunday and for the rest of the season while Kyler Murray would be taking the rest of the year off, and I’ll give credit where it’s due: At least Kendall acknowledged Murray in the above quote.
Source: You've Got Mail: Falcons Week by Darren Urban, AZCardinals.com