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Cardinals Count On Colt McCoy's Pedigree To Pay Off In QB Room

Veteran brought in to help Murray, Streveler -- and experience if he has to play

Quarterback Colt McCoy goes through a drill during a recent training camp practice.
Quarterback Colt McCoy goes through a drill during a recent training camp practice.

Colt McCoy's NFL resumé and experience are what drew the Cardinals' attention to the veteran as a backup quarterback option this offseason.

But for Kliff Kingsbury, an admittedly proud Texan, and a team that featured another Texas schoolboy legend at starting quarterback in Kyler Murray, McCoy had the pedigree that fit as well.

"We knew we wanted to find the right guy who could play at a high level and also help mentor Kyler," Kingsbury said. "To find a guy I know Kyler watched growing up when Colt was the king of Texas, it's pretty neat. Me being from Texas myself, to sit in that room and listen to them go back and forth and share stories, they are building a great rapport."

When McCoy was at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola, Texas, he watched Kingsbury dazzle in Texas Tech's air raid offense and "throw for 1,000 yards a game." When McCoy went to the University of Texas, Murray saw him play on the big stage.

But McCoy's arrival in Arizona wasn't about reunions of high school greatness gone by. It was the need for stability behind Murray, who has started every game since coming in the league but whose ankle injury early in the Rams finale last season doomed the Cardinals.

The since-departed Brett Hundley was inactive that day, and backup Chris Streveler's first real NFL action did not go well.

The Cards turned to McCoy, giving the 12-year veteran a one-year contract to help Murray and Streveler, as well as be a safety net in case Murray gets hurt.

"I don't think you ever see yourself as a backup," McCoy said. "But I do understand my role.

"I'm going to push Kyler to be his best. When he plays well, our team is going to play well."

For McCoy, that means watching Murray closely. Considering part of his role was to mentor Murray, McCoy acknowledged it is he mostly learning from Murray at this point, given that Murray has two years in the offense plus a deeper background into the system dating back to his college days.

The backup should be doing things like the starter, so "I want my voice to sound like his voice in cadence, I want my signals to look like his signals."

McCoy cuts off the next question with a laugh, knowing what is coming. "But I can't mirror his athletic ability. He does things that, quite honestly, I have not seen other people do."

Should McCoy enter a game, he's not going to be Murray. The Cards have seen him recently, with McCoy coming into the game late for the Giants in the Cardinals' win at New York last season, and McCoy feeling the wrath of Haason Reddick's pass rush.

He should be a little more steady than Streveler, however, who is still trying to find his place. While Kingsbury said earlier the battle for the backup quarterback would be open, McCoy will be No. 2. As for Streveler's ability to perhaps do other things – on special teams, or another spot on offense – Kingsbury didn't commit.

"We'll always be trying to evolve," Kingsbury said. "If that is something that continues to grow, (Streveler's) role, definitely. He's a tremendous athlete. We think he has a great future at quarterback. Colt could be one of the best things ever for him, being around that type of professional, that type of experience."

McCoy said his relationship with Murray already is solid. His UT background already came up with his school's potential conference move – "I don't know what to think about us moving to the SEC; we haven't really performed all that great over the last 10 years," he said – but added that when it came to the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry, "we got it all out," McCoy said.

"I won three out of four of my games," said McCoy of his history against the Sooners. "So I told him I was just fine."