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Clayton Tune's Moves Impress, But Chiefs QBs Hurt Cardinals

Defense struggles in 38-10 preseason loss against defending champs

Wide receiver Andre Baccellia runs after catching a Clayton Tune pass during Saturday night's game against the Chiefs.
Wide receiver Andre Baccellia runs after catching a Clayton Tune pass during Saturday night's game against the Chiefs.

If Clayton Tune has any chance to supplant Colt McCoy as Cardinals quarterback while Kyler Murray is out, his legs could be the factor.

Tune, the fifth-round rookie, isn't Kyler-esque in his mobility, but his legs -- particularly his ability to avoid the rush and turn a probable sack into something positive -- was hard not to notice Saturday night, as the Cardinals fell to the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, 38-10, at State Farm Stadium.

"It's a part of my game that I am willing to use but it's not the main part of my game," Tune said. "I want to get the ball out to my playmakers. I have to do a better job of finding my hots and getting those guys the ball. But if need me, I'll use my legs and scramble."

Tune led the Cardinals on their only two scoring drives of the night, coming in after McCoy was in 15 plays and completed 5-of-8 passes for only 25 yards. Tune finished 12-of-24 for 133 yards, along with six rushes for 35 yards. He lost two touchdown passes, one on a penalty and another when Greg Dortch was ruled down at the half-yard line on replay.

His numbers don't factor in the negatives avoided, however, something offensive coordinator Drew Petzing will certainly note.

"We know he's a mobile guy," coach Jonathan Gannon said. "So of that is that the timing of the play got a little bit off so when he is expecting guys to be where they are at when they are not, that's what is going to happen, or busts in protection.

"I think he did do a good job getting us out of trouble a couple of times."

Unfortunately, the quarterback play ended up lopsided, as the Cardinals defense struggled against all four signal-callers the Chiefs put out on the field. The Chiefs totaled 504 yards of offense and averaged 8.7 yards per play.

"It'll be very black and white to our guys what we need to correct in a hurry," Gannon said. "We have to improve that going to Minnesota for practices and a game so we can be more competitive."

Patrick Mahomes started and despite having two passes dropped and another completion wiped out by penalty, still was 10-of-15 for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Shane Buechele and former Cardinal Blaine Gabbert also were sharp -- through the first three quarters, when the Chiefs built a 21-point lead, the Chiefs QBs were a combined 27-for-33 for 330 yards and three touchdowns.

"Oh man, that was definitely not the way we wanted to come out and build our identity," defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter said. "That's not the way we wanted to do it. We're lucky this one doesn't count, but the season is fast approaching. We've got to focus on what we need to focus on."

Gannon will want more from his defense, but injuries could make that more difficult. Linebacker Dennis Gardeck (knee) and cornerback Marco Wilson (undisclosed) both left the game and went to the locker room after getting dinged up (as did defensive back/special teamer Kris Boyd, who hurt his ribs).

The Cardinals also had eight penalties, double their amount from the opener.

"One thing JG always harps on is ebbs and flows," Ledbetter said. "You've got to be able to separate your mind week to week, game to game, and move forward."

McCoy shook his head about the time he and the first-team offense were in the game, frustrated by a group that could not convert third downs of 4, 4, and 2 yards.

"We've got to convert on third downs," McCoy said. "I don't think it was as clean as we wanted it to be. I saw the field well. We've just got to stay on the field on third downs. There were some situations we hadn't seen in practice that will be really good to talk through."

The work is going to be heavy for everybody after the way Saturday played out, and it's going to be mostly against the Vikings with two days of practice in Minnesota.

Tune just hopes to keep his progression moving upward.

"I would say I learned from the mistakes I made in the last game, but there is never a perfect game," Tune said. "I have to watch the film and learn from the mistakes from this game."

Game action photos from the Cardinals' matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs during Week 2 of the 2023 NFL preseason