Arizona Cardinals Continue To Play Mind Games With Starting QB Decision, As If It Even Matters

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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is out for at least the first four games of this NFL season. Colt McCoy, who started six games over the past two seasons for the Cardinals in place of an injured Murray, presumed to begin the season as the team’s starter.

But in a surprise move, head coach Jonathan Gannon and the team decided to cut the veteran backup. As OutKick’s Armando Salguero reported at the time, the move didn’t even make financial sense.

“The stunning thing is releasing McCoy only saves the Cardinals $1.5 million in salary cap space. They’ll still carry approximately $3.5 million in dead cap for the privilege of not having him.”

To most people, the move made a different kind of sense: the Cardinals are tanking for the #1 pick in the NFL Draft and they don’t care who knows it. Releasing McCoy isn’t the only move that signals that, either.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon continues to keep secret who he's going to start at quarterback between Josh Dobbs and Clayton Tune.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon continues to keep secret who he’s going to start at quarterback between Josh Dobbs and Clayton Tune. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Cardinals traded two veteran starters over the last couple weeks, offensive lineman Josh Jones and linebacker Isaiah Simmons. They also released wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in May.

Prior to cutting McCoy, the Cardinals traded for career backup — and often practice squad quarterback — Josh Dobbs.

That left Dobbs and fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune as the only two quarterbacks on the team’s roster.

Josh Dobbs has two career starts in six NFL seasons. He spent three of those six seasons never making an active roster. He wasn’t even good enough to win the Cleveland Browns backup QB job.

Then there’s Tune, a rookie drafted in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft. There’s no worse QB situation in the NFL than the Arizona Cardinals right now.

Despite that, Gannon believes that hiding the identity of their starting quarterback provides them with some kind of advantage over their Week 1 opponent, the Washington Commanders.

Not only did Gannon say last week that he’s not going to tell anyone — publicly — who the starter is, but the team isn’t even sending Dobbs or Tune to speak to the media this week.

To make matters even MORE confusing, Kyler Murray is a team captain. Even though he’s not going to play until October at the earliest.

This is truly fascinating stuff. I’d love to see Gannon hooked up to a lie-detector machine and ask him if he actually thinks this provides his team an advantage or if he has the greatest sense of humor in NFL history.

I really, really hope it’s the latter.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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