Chip on shoulder, Cardinals QB Trace McSorley can use Friday to impress

Aug 11, 2022, 9:46 AM
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Trace McSorley throws a pass during the NFL football team's training ...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Trace McSorley throws a pass during the NFL football team's training camp Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Trace McSorley will start with both Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy sidelined on Friday against the Cincinnati Bengals. More opportunities will be in front of him.

Lately, the third-string Arizona Cardinals quarterback has gotten reps with the first-teamers that he probably didn’t expect to come at this volume. Murray has missed time with COVID-19 and a banged-up wrist, while McCoy has been held out cautiously with an arm issue.

“A lot of guys in that third quarterback position don’t get many reps, so being in this position that I’ve been in so far this training camp has been awesome,” McSorley said Wednesday.

For the Penn State product who entered the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens in 2019, it’s another chance to prove doubters wrong.

McSorley was a three-star high school prospect expected to attend Vanderbilt when then-head coach James Franklin bolted to a better job at Penn State. The quarterback followed Franklin’s move and became the all-time winningest QB in the Big Ten school’s history.

Still, his college career wasn’t all praise and glory.

“I feel like even when I did have success in high school, college, there was always people to doubt me,” McSorley said. “There was always a question mark about me. It was something I could never shake.

“That’s the kind of the mentality I always brought in, is kind of having that underdog mentality. Always got to go prove people wrong.”

McSorley, at 6-foot, to a lesser degree has fought the same height questions that followed Murray in college. A three-star prospect out of high school, he added juice to his throwing abilities with a scrambling style that in his last two years at Penn State saw him accumulate 23 rushing touchdowns.

McSorley rushed for 798 yards as a senior.

As a draft prospect, evaluators still found a way to irk McSorley before he entered the pros. Executives and scouts requested that McSorley work out as a defensive back at the NFL Draft Combine, which he declined, taking it as an insult.

Taken by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2019 draft, McSorley has developed his passing game. Still, the Cardinals, who signed him off Baltimore’s practice squad last November, haven’t been shy about utilizing his legs in camp.

It’s a different look than the other quarterback on the roster, Jarrett Guarantano, a bigger QB who has played well, according to Kingsbury. Guarantano should also get extended snaps Friday.

The game in Cincinnati will be decent insight as to whether McSorley would be in a good spot to hold onto the third-string job.

“Was always impressed. Always one of those gamers, scrappy guys,” Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said of watching McSorley’s college career. “Seems like Penn State was always in the game when he was in it.

“I didn’t realize he was as good of a thrower as he is, just getting around and watching him operate from the pocket. He’s turned himself into a nice NFL player.”

Kingsbury may be convinced, but McSorley still carries with him the fuel from those who aren’t.

Another example of that: McSorley is not the biggest fan of being the topic of a mildly-catchy YouTube song that went viral during his college days.

“You get 10 million YouTube views, you’re poppin’, man,” said Kingsbury, who inflated that view count by a few million. “He got it played. It’s kind of a hot track. I bet it went a long way at Penn State when he was there.”

Said the quarterback: “A lot of little kids (know it). Little kids, that’s like the thing that I feel like they know me for best now. Hopefully, we can get it back to football.”

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