Jonathan Gannon playing Cardinals’ starting quarterback situation tight to vest
Sep 5, 2023, 4:17 PM | Updated: Sep 6, 2023, 8:54 am
The Arizona Cardinals are just five days away from kicking off the regular season against the Washington Commanders.
The burning question ahead of Week 1 is whether Josh Dobbs or rookie Clayton Tune will be under center at quarterback with the starters.
The depth chart was released on Tuesday, listing a designation of Dobbs or Tune as the starter, the only such position with that designation.
First-year head coach Jonathan Gannon told Arizona Sports Burns & Gambo on Tuesday that the team knows who will be QB1 on Sunday, but the move is being held close to the vest for a competitive advantage, a sentiment he also shared the week prior that grabbed headlines.
“We have a plan we feel good about and the players know what’s going on,” Gannon said. “We are going to give ourselves a chance to win a game on Sunday.”
Dobbs will have had six practices with the Cardinals before Sunday rolls around, but the head coach said practice is not the only factor playing in to the competition. Washington has a very athletic defense and it will definitely affect how the team plays offense.
The move to not publicly name a starter just five days before the regular season opener is not common in the NFL but this is something he learned from Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni from his time in Philadelphia.
“We know what we are doing,” Gannon said on the starting quarterback job. “I learned that from coach Sirianni honestly. When we are a new staff, there is always going to be a little bit of cat and mouse Week 1 and 2. What are you going do, did you show it in preseason, are you really showing what you’re going to do.
“A little bit of unknown can help you going into Week 1, whether that be who is playing, what you are going to call in the game and what you’re going to look like cause there is no book on us yet. When there starts to become a book on you, they can study you and think of different scenarios, so it’s an advantage.”
The head coach said it is hard enough to prepare for one quarterback so having the Commanders prepare for two offers a different challenge.
The Cardinals and Gannon were working throughout the preseason to get the new offense in rhythm, but did not give away a lot of the playbook, something the head coach called simply “playing football.”
“At the end of the day I always say, ‘The ball is going to get kicked off and it comes down to who executes the best.’ That’s our challenge to our players and they will be reedy.
Kyler Murray update
Kyler Murray is starting the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and will miss the first four games of the year at minimum, but Gannon said he expects the quarterback to play this year.
Despite the injury, Murray was named an offensive captain on Monday.
“How we decided to do it is that I picked them (captains),” Gannon said. “There is a reason why I picked them, they have a role for our team. I explained to the team what their role and responsibility is and I feel really good about those conversations. Our team felt really good about the guys we picked and if I was gone for a month they could run the team.
“They demonstrate who we want to be as an organization and who we want to be as a team and I’m excited for those guys.”
The coach said Murray has been progressing every day and is “all-in” balancing the health, football and being a good teammate aspect of the recovery process.
Although, the head coach said the timetable for his return is still unknown.