Cardinals’ loss to Rams in season finale ‘fueled’ QB Chris Streveler
GLENDALE — The Arizona Cardinals were just one game away from cashing their ticket into the playoffs last season.
After a promising 6-3 start to the year, Arizona watched as it descended down the NFL standings, staring at a win-or-go-home matchup on the road against a Los Angeles Rams team it hadn’t beaten since 2017.
Compounding the situation was a less-than-100% Kyler Murray. The quarterback injured his ankle, left for a good chunk of the game, making way for rookie backup Chris Streveler. Murray returned for two series in the second half but didn’t finish the 18-7 loss.
For Streveler, the former CFLer, it was an up-and-down showing. He started off with a touchdown pass to running back Jonathan Ward but threw a pick-six right before halftime.
Despite the Rams only kicking two field goals in the second half, the Cardinals were unable to mount a comeback, falling out of playoff contention thanks to the loss in Los Angeles.
The season finale stuck with Streveler, who has remained focused on his daily improvement in all aspects of the game for when that bell ever rings again.
QB Chris Streveler regarding last year’s season finale and how it fueled him this offseason: pic.twitter.com/XGIKzaimyN
— Tyler Drake (@Tdrake4sports) August 16, 2021
“I was definitely really hard on myself after that game. Obviously, things didn’t go the way we liked and I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best version of myself,” Streveler said after Monday’s practice. “There were a lot of tough situations in that game, but I looked at it as an opportunity to learn and get better from.
“That’s something that really fueled me this offseason to have a good offseason and continue to work hard and push myself. I’ve been happy with learning from that experience and also all the experience I’ve gotten during camp to continue to grow as a player.”
Outside of his one carry in Week 1 last year, the loss to Los Angeles marked the first time Streveler got an extended look in a live NFL game. The signal-caller didn’t even get the chance to get some preseason run in due to COVID-19.
Luckily for Streveler, 2021 brought with it some sort of normalcy, giving the QB a chance to get his feet wet in exhibition play.
In the team’s first preseason matchup of the season, Streveler, now the third-stringer behind Murray and Colt McCoy, was on the field for 69% of offensive snaps, tied for fourth most on the team.
He completed 12 of 24 passing attempts for 107 yards while adding 55 yards on 10 carries against the Dallas Cowboys. He also lived up to his “Leveler” nickname and put the team in a position to kick the game-winning field goal with time expiring in the fourth quarter.
Chris Streveler is a runaway freight train at QB! 🚂 @cstrevy
— NFL (@NFL) August 14, 2021
“That was his first preseason game ever, so the more he can get live reps against live NFL defenses, the better,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday.
“He works really hard at it, he’s come a long way in a short time and you saw his competitiveness and had a scrappy finish there to find a way to win the game. We like what we see and I think he’ll just get better and better with more time on task.”
Streveler has taken it upon himself to come back a better all-around player. He’s also received help elsewhere, gaining useful information from McCoy, a first-year Cardinal who started the preseason opener against Dallas.
“There’s really no way to replicate 12 years of NFL experience and just the knowledge that he has,” Streveler said. “Honestly, having him in the room, getting to learn from him, being in meetings every day, he just brings a lot of good knowledge and good leadership to the room that I think has been good for everyone.”
Kingsbury has already seen McCoy’s influence on Streveler. The head coach believes Streveler has taken strides in understanding protections.
“Colt’s been great with him in that room, those guys working together to try and master that side of things,” Kingsbury added.
– Pass rusher Markus Golden was not at practice Monday. Kingsbury said the linebacker is dealing with “something minor.”
– Rookie cornerback Tay Gowan on wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins giving him and fellow rookie corner Marco Wilson tips throughout training camp:
“I didn’t think his character would be like that. It turns out D-Hop is a great guy. He’s always reaching out to the young fellows. I actually got his number so it’s not a problem to reach out to him. That means a lot to me because I was one of the kids at home watching him play.”