Since Preseason Week 2 is the new “dress rehearsal” for most NFL teams these days, expect to see the projected starter Colt McCoy play a little longer this week for the Arizona Cardinals. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see more of Clayton Tune, the rookie quarterback who ended up with a serviceable outing in Week 1.
We praised Tune because of his ability to bounce back after a mediocre first half. But it’s clear that he has been making impressions all week in practice, thanks to a recent piece from the Cardinals official team website.
"“Gannon is not a guy who doles out much individual praise, especially right now when he wants every player to fight for a job. But Tune has to be doing something right to be running second team and getting as much work as he is and his spot on the depth chart when the season begins will continue to be one of the stories to watch.”"- Darren Urban
Source: A Test, More Vets(?), And Friday Before The Chiefs, AZCardinals.com
This is one of those situations when, unless McCoy sustains an injury, he will open the season as the starting quarterback. But given the praise we’ve heard regarding Tune since May, it’s also appropriate to wonder how long McCoy will be taking the reins.
Will Tune work his way into the Arizona Cardinals QB1 role?
You know the drill - a rookie quarterback receives praise, but the pedestrian veteran is the clear-cut favorite to win the job for Week 1. Then, the veteran either puts together a pair of ill-fated performances or even sustains a minor injury, the rookie takes over, and creates just enough of a spark to win the starting job heading into the following week.
This is the vibe - and I don’t like writing about vibes but I’m going to anyway - I’m getting regarding the entire McCoy-Tune situation. If Tune was playing like a typical quarterback drafted on Day 3 during that final weekend in April, then there is no way he even has a remote chance to see the playing field, as someone like David Blough or Jeff Driskel would be the next men up.
But even when Tune enters Week 1 as the QB2, don’t be surprised if you see him getting a chance not only to see time with the starters when the Arizona Cardinals need that “spark” (whether it’s Week 1 or after) but also when he’s slated to start a game. The only way this doesn’t happen is if McCoy effectively moves the offense in every game he starts, which history tells us isn’t happening.
The obvious wildcard in this scenario is Kyler Murray. And if the 26-year-old makes it back onto the field either by Week 1 (highly unlikely) or by October, then perhaps McCoy stays in the driver’s seat. But if Murray doesn’t return until at least November, Tune will get his starts when McCoy’s play dips.