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Cards were stacked against Clayton Tune, team’s offensive tackles under-performing, Dennis Gardeck leads defensive surge

Mocking Clayton Tune is a disgrace. Key coaching decisions at T and ILB have weakened both positions

Arizona Cardinals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The coy manner in which Jonathan Gannon said Kyler Murray or Clayton Tune would be the starter at Cleveland, plus the glaring flaws in Drew Petzing’s offense, in addition to Monti Ossenfort’s decision to trade Josh Dobbs to the Vikings for a mere swap of 6th and 7th round picks, were principal factors as to why the Cardinals’ offense was so historically inept during the Cardinals’ 27-0 loss to the Browns.

And as I predicted last week, Cardinals fans would center their blame for Clayton Tune’s struggles on Clayton Tune:

How football ignorant is this mockery?

Clayton Tune had virtually everything possible going against him in this game —-

  • The anti-climax of Gannon’s decision to go with Tune after indicating that the QB would be Kyler or Tune.
  • Playing in a hostile environment versus the #1 defense in the NFL.
  • That Browns’ #1 defense knew Drew Petzing’s offense to a tee —- and knew exactly how to blow it up, play after play.
  • Not having James Conner or Emari Demercado —- not only for how good they have been running the football, but for how valuable they have been in stuffing blitzes in pass pro.
  • The Cardinals’ OL having by far their worst game of the season, which led to a host of tackles for losses and 7 sacks.
  • The Browns ’impressive pass coverage which blanketed the Cardinals’ receivers on virtually every passing play. Look at the grades of their cover men:
  • WLB Sione Takitaki —- 93.0
  • SCB Cameron Mitchell —- 91.3
  • LCB Denzel Ward —- 86.1
  • SS Grant Delpit —- 84.7
  • MLB Anthony Walker —- 77.8
  • FS Juan Thormnill —- 72.8
  • RCB Martin Everson —- 72.4
  • All of this made even worse by the refs:

This a perfect throw on the wheel route from Clayton Tune to Rondale Moore. A throw with pressure in Tune’s face. Beautiful route by Moore and perfect inside route by Marquise Brown.

The situation was 3rd and 4 —- with the score CLE 10 ARI 0. Finally, the Cardinals throw beyond the sticks to perfection and a 25 yard chunk play. This could have been a hugely needed momentum shift for Tune and the Cardinals.

Instead, Tune had to face a 3rd and 14, and with zero time to throw he got what he could on a 7 yard scramble. 4th and 7 —- punt.

One of the real positives about Clayton Tune in this game was the mobility he showed on the bootlegs early on and in the assorted scrambles he made under extreme duress.

It is very much worth noting that Clayton Tune protected the football on 6 of the 7 sacks, save the play where he got stripped from behind on a waggle to his right which was supposed to buy him a second more time from backside pressure. Ugh.

Also, do you remember seeing CBS show Tune’s 3rd down slant pass throw to Marquise Brown, that the Browns’ ILB made a great play on the deflection? The camera angle was from behind Tune —- man, he threw a perfect over the top rope to Brown. After sailing the slant pass for the early interception, this throw was an excellent adjustment. Credit the ILB for making the play —- but also credit Tune for making a textbook throw.

After the game Clayton Tune handled his interviews with aplomb and grace. He said he was thankful to have a playing opportunity which he can learn and grow from.

I just worry that the Cardinals’ coaches, like the Cardinals’ fans who are now mocking Clayton Tune, will give up on Tune the way they have done with every QB they’ve had this year not named Kyler.

The scuttlebutt at the end of the pre-season when the Cardinals traded for Josh Dobbs was that the coaches wanted to protect their rookie QB.

Please explain then how they same coaches, weeks later, could throw Clayton Tune into this completely “un-protectable” situation in his first NFL start?

Oh the irony —- trade a 5th round pick for Josh Dobbs to protect 5th round pick Clayton Tune and then give up on Josh Dobbs after 8 games by trading him for a swap of 6th and 7 round picks —- to then throw Clayton Tune to the Dawgs, literally and figuratively.

Meanwhile, with the Vikings:

Did you notice that Kevin O’Connell gave game balls to 3 former Cardinals?

Trading Up and Drafting a Right Tackle at #6

One of the other questions to ask —- if the Cardinals were going to draft a right tackle, did they draft the best one?

It is still alarming that Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon catered their offense around tabbing Colt McCoy as the interim starter and then calling D.J. Humphries a player of utmost football integrity and appeasing him by appointing him a team captain and undisputed starter at LT from day one (to the point of jettisoning Josh Jones who outplayed DJ last year) ——and even worse —- at the expense of relegating Paris Johnson Jr. , who was considered the most natural LT prospect in the draft to RT.

These myopic decisions at the tackle positions are playing out exactly as I had feared. My biggest concern as I have expressed on Red Rain, was that DJ would not be the kind of role model that PJJ needs to follow. Like DJ, PJJ is a charmer with the media, but on game days, like DJ, he has been routinely undisciplined and inconsistent. Look at these numbers:

  • DJ Humphries —- Overall: 53.4 —- Pass Blocking: 58.8 —- Run Blocking: 52.7 —- Penalties: 8
  • Paris Johnson —- Overall: 50.1 —- Pass Blocking: 56.7 —- Run Blocking: 45.1 —- penalties: 8

This is unacceptable.

Rookie Right Tackles:

  • Darnell Wright —- CHI —- 66.1
  • Broderick Jones —- PIT —- 64.3
  • Dawand Jones —- CLE — 59.7
  • Anton Harrison —- JAX —- 56.9
  • Blake Freeland —- IND —- 53.2
  • Paris Johnson Jr. —-ARZ —- 50.1

Again, this is unacceptable.

The irony here is —- if D.J. cannot play this week, Kelvin Beachum would be the LT —- Beachum, who this off-season suggested that Kyler needs to improve his leadership and maturity level —- could now be protecting Kyler’s backside. Beachum has struggled thus far at LT in pre-season and in the regular season (54.4 pass blocking grade —- 56.4 overall) when filling in for D.J. when D.J. was ejected for making physical contact with a referee.

The added, predictable irony? Where’s Josh Jones when you need him?


This coaching staff’s personnel decisions at offensive tackle and inside linebacker have essentially weakened all four positions.

  • LT —- Humphries —- 53.4
  • RT —- Johnson Jr, —- 50.1
  • MLB —- Kyzir White —- 57.9
  • WILB —- Josh Woods —- 41.8

Kyzir White is made to order for the WILB position, just as Paris Johnson Jr., is made to order for the LT position.

On a Positive Note:

Cardinals’ Top Defensive Grades Versus Browns:

  • 85.5 —- Dennis Gardeck
  • 80.6 —- Zaven Collins
  • 71.5 —- Dante Stills
  • 71.0 —- Budda Baker
  • 70.9 —- Marco Wilson
  • 69.3 —- leki Fotu
  • 66.5 —- Jalen Thompson
  • 63.9 —- Roy Lopez

These Cardinals came to play!


Look at Gardeck’s get-off and quickness to the football, wow!

Love the speed rushes the Cardinals are getting with Dennis Gardeck on one edge and B.J. Ojulari on the other! Zaven Collins, Victor Dimukeje and Cam Thomas flash at time as well.

Gardecky Flashing Off the Field As Well: