3 reasons the Arizona Cardinals were smart to keep fighting until the final whistle in 2023

We won’t remember the 2023 Arizona Cardinals as being a good football team, but they also made things interesting on numerous occasions.

Jan 7, 2024; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) celebrates a
Jan 7, 2024; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) celebrates a / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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Kyler Murray
Jan 7, 2024; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks on after / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

2 - Kyler Murray had an audition to pass

Quarterback Kyler Murray led the Cardinals to a 3-5 record, and had Matt Prater’s accurate leg not gone to the wayside, they would have finished 4-4. For the final eight games of 2023, the Cardinals wanted to, and should have, put Murray in the best possible position to win every contest to accurately gauge whether they could trust him as the franchise quarterback next season. 

That doesn’t happen when you are playing for draft picks, and Murray’s production, especially in those final two games, wouldn’t have been what it was if the Cards were throwing a portion of their season. Instead, they rightfully treated each game, even those “meaningless” Week 17 and Week 18 matchups, like they were important, because in many ways, they were. 

Further, if Gannon, Ossenfort, and Company opted to play for the higher pick, then chances were, Murray wouldn’t have posted sound performances late. This would have potentially put the quarterback position into the debate with what became the fourth pick