Keim: Carson Palmer’s words resonated as Cardinals signed Colt McCoy

Nov 12, 2021, 4:09 PM | Updated: Nov 13, 2021, 7:57 am
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy (12) passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the fir...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy (12) passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

(AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

It felt pretty obvious why the Arizona Cardinals went after a new backup quarterback in the offseason.

The loss to the Los Angeles Rams, who themselves were led by backup quarterback Jon Wolford, kept the Cardinals out of the playoffs in the last game of the 2020 regular season.

It wasn’t all on undrafted rookie and Canadian Football League product Chris Streveler, who made his first start for Arizona that game. But it sure put a microscope on how the Cardinals managed their depth chart behind starter Kyler Murray, who injured himself in the season finale after entering it already dinged up.

This offseason, general manager Steve Keim reacted by signing 11-year NFL veteran Colt McCoy.

“I doesn’t say anything about how we felt about (Chris) Strevler because we really do like him, but I think we all can learn from self-evaluation,” Keim said Friday, five days after McCoy went 22-of-26 for 249 yards and a touchdown in place of Murray.

“When you can take a step back and certainly take a deep breath and take a look at where you can improve, there’s no doubt that we felt like (McCoy’s) experience would benefit us in a number of ways. Not only if Kyler went down but to have a second set of eyes for Kyler, when he comes off the field, in the film room.”

Beyond hedging for any injury to Murray, Keim drew inspiration for the McCoy signing from former Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer.

He began his professional career in 2003 as a No. 1 pick with Cincinnati but sat out his rookie year as the Bengals started veteran Jon Kitna. Palmer won the starting gig in 2004, and Kitna slid into a backup role over the next two seasons, working behind the scenes to help the franchise QB.

“Carson Palmer always used to tell me that as much as he learned from his coaches in the past, the real guy who got him sort of acclimated to being a pro was Jon Kitna in Cincinnati,” Keim said. “So always remembered that and certainly think a lot of Carson Palmer. That sort of resonated with me when we signed Colt McCoy.”

Extra point

Keim on how Kingsbury called the 31-17 win against the 49ers with McCoy on the controls instead of Murray: “If you look at his body of work and his history as a coach — and I don’t care if it’s (former Houston Cougars quarterback) Case Keenum all the way to (former Texas Tech quarterback) Patrick Mahomes — the different style of players that he coached and the success that he had with them was certainly something that attracted him to us.

“I’m not surprised at all. It’s what he does. He gets guys ready.”

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