For fans of the Arizona Cardinals, 2018 is a year to forget. It began with a head-scratching hire at head coach and a first round selection of a quarterback. Fast forward to the start of 2019, and the Cardinals made a head-scratching hire and eventually drafted another quarterback in the first round. This time however, there is a considerable increase in excitement and anticipation. As training camp officially begins on Thursday with their first practice, we wrap up our roster preview series. Today we take a look at the most important position on the field, the quarterback.
QB1: Kyler Murray (R)
QB2: Brett Hundley
Drew Anderson (R), Charles Kanoff
For better or worse, the hiring of Kliff Kingsbury brought excitement and anticipation to the Cardinals. The initial shock of the hire quickly faded into the background as opinions swirled over what Kingsbury could do in the NFL. Kingsbury’s system is quarterback friendly, primarily concerned with getting the football out quickly. Arizona held the number one selection in April’s draft and rumors of the Cardinals selecting Kyler Murray began to gain traction.
Kingsbury recruited Murray out of high school, coached against the quarterback while in charge of Texas Tech. Picturing Murray playing in a wide open offense, similar to what he utilized at Oklahoma, began infecting both the fans and media surrounding the Cardinals. The official selection of Murray and trade of Josh Rosen to Miami, brought the excitement to a fever pitch. Throw in the offensive weapons added through the draft in Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, Keesean Johnson and the return of Christian Kirk. The skill players are in place for the Arizona offense.
The preliminary reports from OTAs and mini-camp has been overwhelmingly positive. Teammates have gushed over the ability of Murray while praising his work ethic. Media have focused on the high level of play displayed by Murray. The excitement is building at a rate rarely seen in Arizona. Arizona State University may have the Herm Train, but the Cardinals definitely find themselves with a hype train of their own.
Better than Last Year…On Paper
Arizona entered training camp in 2018 with Rosen, Sam Bradford, and Mike Glennon. Bradford was the presumptive starter while the rookie Rosen would be brought along slowly. By the fourth game of the season, Bradford was on the way out of the starting lineup, leaving Rosen to take over an inept offense. While Rosen showed flashes of the talent which earned him a first round selection, the offense never quite functioned effectively in 2018. None of the group remains on the roster to begin the 2019 training camp.
The Cardinals drafted Murray with the top overall pick. Arizona signed quarterback Brett Hundley in March. Hundley, drafted in the fifth round in 2015, has served as backup to both Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. While he was unable to find the field with the Seahawks in 2018, Hundley had a significant nine-game stretch in 2017 for the Packers. Hundley brings stability to the backup position and has arguably a better supporting cast than he did during his stints in Green Bay and Seattle.
Behind Hundley and Murray sits Charles Kanoff. The second-year quarterback found a spot on the Cardinals practice squad as a rookie in 2018. Kanoff was promoted to the active roster for the Chargers game last season, but was kept inactive on game day. He was then released, before finding his way back to the Cardinals. Is Kanoff better than Mike Glennon? If the Cardinals need the answer to that question, the season is already lost.
Leading the Way
A franchise quarterback is something everyone searches for. Finding one provides stability and hope for any organization in transition. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees have allowed their teams to reload while remaining playoff contenders. Russell Wilson is currently the epitome of this type of quarterback. Kingsbury and the Cardinals brass hope that Kyler Murray can be that in Arizona.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) July 23, 2019
The Cardinals have improved offensively with the additions to the wide receiver position and along the offensive line. The biggest improvement is at quarterback. Arizona is all-in with Murray as their starter. The Cardinals will live or die with the pairing of Murray and Kingsbury. There is excitement in the desert. If Murray is lives up to his lofty praise, the red sea will rise quickly in Glendale.