Same situation, different week for the Arizona Cardinals at quarterback.
According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, “signs heading into Sunday’s game in Seattle point to Colt McCoy starting his third straight game for Arizona in place of the injured Kyler Murray.”
Last week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the Cardinals were “pessimistic” that Murray would start against the Carolina Panthers in Week 10
There was some hope Murray would be able to play this week after being limited in practice all week. On November 17, coach Kliff Kingsbury said Murray was “out there moving around pretty good.”
Both Murray and McCoy were listed as questionable on the Cardinals’ final injury report this week. McCoy left Week 10’s matchup against the Panthers with a pectoral injury and didn’t return. Like Murray, McCoy was limited in practice during the week.
On November 16, the Cardinals made an effort to snag backup quarterback Shane Buechele from the Kansas City Chiefs, but were rejected as the Chiefs signed the 23-year-old undrafted rookie to their 53-man roster. But since McCoy was showing good signs, Arizona didn’t add a quarterback to their practice squad and will likely start McCoy for the third straight game with Chris Streveler as their backup.
Murray will still be a game-time decision. But the Cardinals are sitting at 8-2 with a bye week approaching in Week 12, so having Murray 100% for the month of December seems to be the priority.
Confidence in McCoy
After a 119.4 passer rating performance against the 49ers, McCoy struggled mightily against the Panthers. But general manager Steve Keim on the “Burns and Gambo” show on 98.7 Arizona’s Sports Station felt positive with his QB situation.
“I feel good about our depth,” Keim said on November 19. “Colt McCoy has looked good this week, which is encouraging. Regardless, I think we’re going to have a good opportunity with whoever plays that position.”
Even with the divisional showdown against the Seahawks, the Cardinals aren’t going to push Murray. Or any QB that’s ailing for that matter according to Keim.
“Never would we want to ever put a player at risk,” Keim said. “There are certain things that have to be determined for the sake of the organization and the player. It always has to be looked at long-term — you don’t want to do something that is foolish and put a guy at risk.”
McCoy does have a 2-0 record against the Seahawks in his career. The last win happened to be in 2020 and happened to be in Seattle. McCoy went 13 for 22 for 105 yards including one touchdown and one interception.
Of course, McCoy wasn’t asked to do a lot. And it will hurt that star wideout DeAndre Hopkins will miss his third straight game with a hamstring injury.
But the Cardinals must be able to run the football. When the Cardinals won with McCoy against the 49ers, Arizona ran for 163 yards. James Conner must thrash the Seahawks rushing defense that’s given up the seventh-most rushing yards per game.
The Seahawks are 3-6 and desperately need a win. This will be their first matchup against the Cardinals, with their last meeting on the final week of the season on January 9.
Arizona made a few roster moves on November 20.
The Cardinals placed linebacker Tanner Vallejo on injured reserve with a knee injury, along with signing long snapper Beau Brinkley and running back Tavien Feaster to the active roster.
Vallejo received 26 snaps in the Cardinals’ loss to the Panthers. With Vallejo out, this could lead to more snaps for rookie linebacker Zaven Collins.
Kingsbury in May commented on pairing Isaiah Simmons with Collins.
“They’ll win the prettiest linebacker duo award when they line up side by side. Those are two big, long, athletic cats.”
Collins has been up and down in terms of playing time with three weeks consisting of snaps below 10. Kingsbury also told the media on November 14 that Vallejo earned playing time over Collins.
But Collins’ shoulder injury in Week 9 also had an impact on his reduction of snaps. Now fully healthy, this can be the time for the rookie to make contributions in the middle of the year, similar to Simmons’ rookie season.