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Experience Of Desmond Ridder Factor In Backup QB Battle

Cardinals have ex-Falcon and Clayton Tune vying for spot behind Murray

New Cardinals quarterback Desmond Ridder (right) tries to escape former Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson during a play when the Cards hosted the Falcons in 2023.
New Cardinals quarterback Desmond Ridder (right) tries to escape former Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson during a play when the Cards hosted the Falcons in 2023.

Desmond Ridder isn't going to be handed the backup quarterback job for the Cardinals, but the key element he brings after his trade from the Atlanta Falcons will give him an advantage over Clayton Tune.

"Desmond played a lot of ball the last two years, starting 17 games, so he's got some experience," GM Monti Ossenfort said Wednesday. "There is no substitute for experience, especially at the quarterback position."

Tune was a rookie last season, serving as the No. 2 quarterback the first eight games of the season behind Joshua Dobbs and the last eight games behind Kyler Murray. The one game sandwiched between those two stints Tune got a start, in Cleveland, but he struggled mightily in a 27-0 loss.

So it was not a surprise when the Cardinals brought in a veteran like Ridder, even if he has only played one more season.

"We're seeking to add competition to the roster," Ossenfort said. "Adding Desmond to the room with Kyler and Clayton gives us three guys who will give us a good battle. They are all shaped a little differently but they all schematically can do similar things."

Tune showed last year he can scramble and run if needed; Ridder joked during his first visit to the team facility this will be the first time he isn't the fastest quarterback in the room.

Murray will own that title. He'll also own the QB job, and in a perfect world Murray starts all 17 games and whomever wins the backup job doesn't see the field.

Ridder would love a chance to play at some point, still frustrated with the way his season played out in Atlanta. He understands what his role will be here now (and has a previous friendship with Tune, which will make for an interesting battle.)

"I didn't play to what I thought the expectations were of myself last season," Ridder said on Friday. "We knew there were other opportunities that could come available.

"We just want to make the most of any opportunity with my career and my life as a whole. It didn't work out but God works in mysterious ways and now we're in beautiful Arizona."

The fact that Ridder still has two years left on his rookie deal (for a total of $2.5 million) and Tune three years gives the Cardinals stability on the QB depth chart if they so choose. The Cardinals have seen Ridder up close – he played against them in both 2022 and 2023.

"The skill set. (He's a ) big guy. Arm talent. Mobility. Smart. Plays fast," coach Jonathan Gannon said. "That's what jumped off the tape to me. And I know we had to play him so prepping for him too, talking to some people you know what the character of the guy is, so he was a good addition and what we were looking for there."