When ‘2’ is used to find ‘3’: The evaluation of the Cardinals’ No. 3 QB

Sep 6, 2016, 6:32 PM | Updated: Sep 7, 2016, 11:33 am
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Aaron Murray looks for a receiver during the NFL football team's tra...

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Aaron Murray looks for a receiver during the NFL football team's training camp Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, in St. Joseph, Mo. (Dougal Brownlie/The St. Joseph News-Press via AP)

(Dougal Brownlie/The St. Joseph News-Press via AP)

TEMPE, Ariz. – All either Zac Dysert and Aaron Murray were looking for was an opportunity. It just so happened they each believed that opportunity was with the Arizona Cardinals, and thus officially signed on Tuesday.

The two young quarterbacks both landed on the practice squad after clearing waivers following their release from Miami and Kansas City, respectively.

“They were certainly the highest-rated guys that we had looked at that were practice squad eligible and there (is) no doubt the practice squad is a great tool for developing players and finding out whether a guy has what it takes to contribute on the 53-man roster,” GM Steve Keim told Doug & Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

By opting not to carry a third quarterback on the active roster, a decision reached by six other NFL teams, the Cardinals needed to find a quarterback to run the scout team. That they chose two quarterbacks as part of their 10-man practice squad was eye-opening, though fell in line with the team’s philosophy of always being on the lookout to add the best players, regardless of position.

Of course, no other team has more than one quarterback on their practice squad, if any at all.

“That’s something I can’t really control, so I try not to worry about it,” Dysert said. “I’m just going to try to learn the offense as fast as I can and show the coaches that I deserve to be here, I can play in this league and I help the team.”

Added Murray: “It’s the NFL. There’s competition everywhere. You have to go out there and compete to earn your job everyday, so I’m excited to got out there and compete and show these coaches what I can do.”

Dysert, 26, called his decision to join the Cardinals “kind of a personal thing.” He knows Drew Stanton, having worked out with him in the offseason, and is familiar with Carson Palmer.

Originally a seventh-round pick (234th overall) by Denver in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Miami (Ohio), Dysert spent his rookie season as the Broncos third quarterback and was on Denver’s practice squad for the entire 2014 campaign. Last season, Dysert was on the practice squads of the Texans and Bills before spending the offseason and training camp this year with the Dolphins until he was released during final roster cuts.

Dysert, a four-year starter in college, has not seen any NFL action.

“This was where I thought was going to be the best fit,” he said, referring to the Cardinals. “The offense kind of suited me.”

Murray, too, cited the offense for his reason to become a Cardinal.

“Great offense, great coach, some great older quarterbacks,” he said. “Carson has been in the league awhile, has been very successful. I’m just going to come in and just soak it all in, learn as much as possible; lot of studying, a lot of just getting my nose in the playbook.”

Murray, 25, entered the league with Kansas City in the fifth-round (163rd overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Georgia, where he set numerous SEC all-time records including passing yards, completions and touchdown passes.

Murray did not see any game action in his two seasons with the Chiefs, spending his time there as the No. 3 quarterback.

“I got to go up against Aaron a lot,” said safety Tyvon Branch, a teammate of Murray’s a year ago. “He was the scout team quarterback. He’s a good quarterback, smart guy. With the coaches here, they’ll develop him into a good quarterback.”

Dysert and Murray are each receiving a crash course in the Cardinals offense. Their tutors include quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens, assistant head coach Tom Moore and coaching intern Byron Leftwich.

“Both of them are learning a totally different language,” head coach Bruce Arians said.

Just how often either Dysert and Murray will be able to showcase what they’ve learned is up in the air. Now that regular season preparations have begun, most of the Cardinals quarterback work is split between Palmer and Stanton with Dysert and Murray running that week’s opposing offense against the Cardinals defense.

“The snaps that I do get and the reps that I do get, just try to make the most out of those and just learn every day,” Dysert said.

Right now, it’s more of an evaluation of the two, according to Arians.

Keim agreed.

“You can never tell, particularly at that position, the quarterback position, what you have with a player until you spend time with him,” he said, “and both these young guys have potential and we’ll certainly find out the next few weeks what they look like.”

Arizona Cardinals

Houston Texans defensive tackle Roy Lopez (91) battles Arizona Cardinals guard Justin Pugh during t...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals-Bears injury report: OL Justin Pugh a game-time decision

Arizona offensive lineman Justin Pugh missed a second straight day of practice Thursday with a lingering calf injury.
2 days ago
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals look on during the second h...
Tyler Drake

Kyler Murray, Isaiah Simmons not taking the Kingsbury-to-Oklahoma bait

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray isn't putting too much stock into the report that Oklahoma is targeting Kliff Kingsbury as its next head coach.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins returns to the practice field Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Temp...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins, QB Kyler Murray easing back in practice

The Cardinals saw one of their biggest pieces offensively in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins make his return to the practice field on Wednesday.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (94) celebrates his sack against the San Francisco 49ers...
Tyler Drake

Back at it: Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals use bye week to their advantage

While the time away from the football field is needed for any team, there's a fine line between refueling and getting complacent.
4 days ago
Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Ward runs through a drill during training camp Thursday, July 29, 202...
Jake Anderson

Arizona Cardinals place RB Jonathan Ward on Reserve/COVID-19 list

The Arizona Cardinals placed RB Jonathan Ward on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. He has not played since Oct. 28 due to a concussion.
4 days ago
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields warms up before an NFL football game against the Baltimore ...
Tyler Drake

The final countdown: A look at the Cardinals’ remaining matchups in 2021

With the bye done and over with, it's time for the Arizona Cardinals to reengage for a final playoff push to end the season.
4 days ago
When ‘2’ is used to find ‘3’: The evaluation of the Cardinals’ No. 3 QB