The Arizona Cardinals won’t have Kyler Murray to open the season, barring something unforeseen. So they will roll with either rookie Clayton Tune or a backup.
For a while now, I’ve insisted the Arizona Cardinals roll with rookie signal-caller Clayton Tune. I mean, if they are serious about this not being a “rebuilding” year, then they need to go with the quarterback that they feel can give them the best chance to win games in Kyler Murray’s absence.
Colt McCoy, Jeff Driskel, and David Blough have a combined career record of 12-41, per Pro-Football-Reference. And no, that is not a typo, the trio has a combined winning percentage of 0.226, so why would you opt to start three quarterbacks who have clearly proved they can’t win consistently in the NFL if you plan on winning games? And that’s putting things generously.
No, we don’t know how good Clayton Tune will look. But we can confidently say that he will create more of a spark than the bland McCoy, Driskel, and Blough will ever think to create. Tune has already shown off his confidence, and he’s garnered good reviews in offseason activities.
In fact, this might even be Tune’s job to lose once training camp is in full swing. That’s if he keeps improving. And it makes sense, thanks to the strong offensive line, security blankets at tight end, and a bull of a back in James Conner.
But despite the logic that Tune can at least play serviceable football in this offense, it didn’t stop NFL Network’s Adam Rank from claiming McCoy will be the Cards 2023 MVP. Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming, either. Even if McCoy ends up starting all 17 games, it’s still farfetched to believe he will be the Cards most valuable player.
Colt McCoy is far from MVP material on the Arizona Cardinals
Let’s lay out a worst-case scenario for Kyler Murray and a best-case one for McCoy. Just bear with me here.
Suppose Murray misses the first eight weeks of the season and McCoy leads the team to a 4-4 record. If this is the case, Tune probably doesn’t play, but Murray returns and flops, prompting the Cards to revert to McCoy when they are 4-7, and he leads them to a respectable 7-10 record, and 7-7 overall.
McCoy still isn’t the MVP here. Sure, Murray loses games in this scenario and McCoy doesn’t, but let’s dig deeper into why McCoy has somehow played the best football of his career, and added seven wins to his meager 11-25 win total.
Chances are, it wasn’t McCoy winning games for the Arizona Cardinals. Instead, the career backup and spot starter played more mistake-free football than Murray, finding Zach Ertz, Trey McBride, and Marquise Brown open on short routes, while they got creative and made things happen downfield.
Oh, and they’re also playing a game called Martyballl under new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing. What’s Martyball? Named after former Cleveland Browns head coach Marty Schottenheimer, Martyball is the art of winning games by running the ball, then throwing short passes when necessary, similar to the offense Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland’s current coach) runs with the Browns to this day.
It’s great for quarterbacks like McCoy whose arm strength was never going to break any records. That said, let’s give players like James Conner (if he stays healthy), Zach Ertz (if he stays healthy), and Trey McBride the credit here, and perhaps Marquise Brown.
Or, maybe we shift gears to defense and see if someone like Isaiah Simmons or Zaven Collins can become playmakers opposing offenses fear. But as for the Colt McCoy 2023 MVP claim, that just isn’t going to happen.
Source: State of the 2023 Arizona Cardinals: Question marks abound as Jonathan Gannon era begins by Adam Rank, NFL.com