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Four-way Quarterback Battle for possible Week 1 start

Kyler Murray continues recovering from ACL injuries sustained in December

Syndication: Arizona Republic Mingson Lau/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Training camp for the Arizona Cardinals is a little over a month away with wide open competition at almost every position on their roster.

With jobs on the line and starting jobs up for grabs, Cardinals players will have every opportunity to prove their worth to head coach Jonathan Gannon and his coaching staff.

No position in American football is more important than the quarterback position and there seems to be a four-way quarterback battle for the top backup position behind two-time Pro Bowler Kyler Murray.

Unfortunately for Murray, he suffered a non-contact injury against the New England Patriots on December 12 at State Farm Stadium that was later confirmed to be an ACL tear. For now, there is no timetable for his return.

As Murray continues his rehab and recovery, the backup quarterback job is more important than ever as the winner of the four-way quarterback battle will likely be the Week 1 starter in the regular season opener on the road against the Washington Commanders.

Let’s take a look at their backup options:

New England Patriots v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Colt McCoy

Over the last two seasons, Colt McCoy was the Cardinals’ unquestioned No. 2 quarterback on the roster. In his first start with Arizona in 2021, McCoy was triumphant in the 31-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers as he had a near flawless performance with an 85 percent completion percentage. He has been praised for his smarts, professionalism on and off the football field, and has been a valuable mentor for Kyler Murray. McCoy is 3-3 as a starter with the Cardinals and 11-25 overall in his 12-year career. He thrived in quick pass plays but struggled when the opposition took that option away. Is his experience enough to earn him the Week 1 start?

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Clayton Tune

Tune was the Cardinals’ fifth-round selection in this year’s draft with an impressive college resume. His 40 touchdown passes was tied for the third-most in college football last season, as he trailed this year’s No. 2 overall selection C.J. Stroud and the widely-regarded top quarterback in college football entering 2023 in USC’s Caleb Williams. Tune was one of the most athletic quarterbacks at the combine as he clocked in at 4.64 seconds at the 40-yard dash. He also had 4,074 passing yards, 544 rushing yards, and five rushing touchdowns. The 24-year-old quarterback has a legitimate chance to start in Week 1 and could end up being the primary backup in Arizona for the next four years.

Arizona Cardinals v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

David Blough

Though it was a bit of a surprise initially when the Cardinals announced the re-signing of David Blough, it all made sense with the hiring of assistant general manager Dave Sears. Sears was previously the Detroit Lions’ director of college scouting since 2019 and Blough began his NFL career with the Lions that same year. Though he has yet to win a game with a 0-7 career record, Blough flashed potential in his first start in Arizona as he completed 22-of-40 passes for 222 passing yards and a touchdown in the 20-19 loss on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. He is only 27 years old and has plenty of room for improvement.

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Jeff Driskel

Before joining the Arizona Cardinals, Jeff Driskel made stints on five different teams which include the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, and the Houston Texans. The Cardinals have not had a veteran backup quarterback with his size (6’4’’ 235lbs) since Brett Hundley in 2020. Driskel ran 4.56 seconds at the 40-yard dash and his athleticism was one of the reasons why he was briefly converted to tight end with the Texans. Cardinals’ running back James Conner hinted that Drew Petzing’s offense would be run-oriented and Driskel does have above average athleticism that could be utilized heavily in Arizona.

The one quarterback that remains a free agent that continues to be linked to the Cardinals is Teddy Bridgewater due to his experience with Petzing back in their time with the Minnesota Vikings. There remains the possibility Kyler Murray could be back sooner rather than later. Colt McCoy is currently the favorite to start Week 1 but the other backup quarterbacks are not far behind.