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Quarterback Quandary, And Friday Before The Vikings

So the overarching storyline to this season for the Cardinals is undoubtedly the return of Kyler Murray, and when that might happen. But that provides as well a secondary storyline of who will play QB in the interim. That was already earning the spotlight before Thursday afternoon, and then the Cardinals traded for Joshua Dobbs.

We have not heard from Jonathan Gannon since the trade for Dobbs. That won't happen until after Saturday's preseason finale against the Vikings here in Minnesota. Gannon has consistently said he will name the starter when it needs to be named. In the meantime, what could it mean?

Dobbs coming in this late wouldn't figure to be a starting candidate (at least at first), but you don't deal a fifth-round pick if you aren't going to keep the guy. It seems obvious at this point Tune will make the team. Who starts, though? Those three make sense as your three QBs, and the question is if Murray is a fourth or if he starts the season on PUP (keeping him out at least one more month unable to practice.) Is Dobbs a threat to McCoy's roster spot, even?

McCoy has dealt with elbow issues. Whether Dobbs is a veteran backstop for that or a challenger to McCoy, we will see. Tune has done some good things but is he ready to start as a rookie? David Blough may need a big game against the Vikings. Whenever there is unknown about the QB, that always makes a good story. I mean, who are we kidding. The quarterback usually makes a good story, regardless.

-- Whenever there is a change in coaches, there are usually roster surprises of some sort. The Cardinals were ready to move on from Isaiah Simmons, and they did, and when you are building a team in a specific way like Gannon and GM Monti Ossenfort, not everyone is going to fit. This (at least so far) isn't like when Denny Green came in in 2004, running safety Dexter Jackson out after a six-interception season, insisting Leonard Davis was a tackle and not a guard (making long-time starter L.J. Shelton irrelevant) and shockingly cutting Pete Kendall on the first day of training camp.

-- The players that have played well in camp that perhaps haven't gotten a ton of notice for it (in my eyes): defensive linemen Leki Fotu and L.J. Collier, linebacker Josh Woods, wide receiver Greg Dortch. They aren't the only ones, but those are guys the Cardinals could use as they start the season. Especially on the D-line, where both Fotu and Collier are trying to show they indeed can be impact players consistently.

-- Earlier in training camp wide receiver Hollywood Brown, after missing many practices, was doing an interview when he was asked directly what had sidelined him -- and Brown deftly sidestepped the question and just said the team was getting him in great shape. And anyone who has listened to Jonathan Gannon has heard him describe a hurt player as being "nicked." Then, earlier this week, running back Keaontay Ingram, who like Brown missed a bunch of practice earlier in camp, also was asked directly what the injury had been -- and Ingram said it was just a "nick."

Gannon is rubbing off, and that's exactly what a head coach wants.

-- While we wait to see the preseason debut of BJ Ojulari -- I'm not sure if he plays against the Vikings or not -- Jesse Luketa has gotten a lot of playing time as he tries to make the roster, and if he continues to make the tip-to-myself-and-get-an-interception plays like he did Thursday, that'll help. He's flashed throughout camp.

-- Cornerback Kei'Trel Clark continues to get a ton of first-team reps this week, and it seems pretty clear he has earned playing time already. Maybe even a starting job.

-- With Simmons gone, the Cardinals have to figure out who their safeties are beyond Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson (and it's possible the Cardinals still want to use Thompson at nickel). There are guys fighting for jobs, but the waiver wire beckons.

-- Along those lines, I expect this team to be active on the waiver wire next week. They will have the third claim after the Bears and Texans, and I could see a big number potentially (a "big" number would be adding four or five.) Of course, if they claim a guy, a corresponding player has to be cut.

See you Saturday. Early kickoff, don't forget.

QB Clayton Tune
QB Clayton Tune

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