Just Now: Arizona Cardinals are still contemplating on who will…

No clear indication yet who starts at QB for Arizona Cardinals Sunday at Browns.

Cardinals cut QB Jeff Driskel as Kyler Murray nears return

Arizona re-signed QB Jeff Driskel to the practice squad.

Kyler Murray was zipping passes to receivers with such speed and accuracy on Wednesday it was as if he never had been hurt. Clayton Tune looked on time, relaxed, and in control. One can only tell so much, though, from the 20 minutes of the Arizona Cardinals’ practice open to the news media.

Coach Jonathan Gannon wasn’t much help, either.

Before the team took the field, he wouldn’t even divulge how he planned to divvy up the practice reps with Murray and Tune, along with re-signed No. 3 quarterback Jeff Driskel, let alone provide any hint on who would start Sunday’s game at the Cleveland Browns.

Jonathan Gannon and the Cardinals Can No Longer Be Considered  Laughingstocks - Sports Illustrated

“We’ve got a good plan,” Gannon said, referring to splitting up the reps with the first-team offense. “They’ll all practice.” And Murray did, once again getting in a full session.

But who’s going to start? Will it be Murray, who last played a game on Dec. 12 when he tore his right ACL against the Patriots? Or will it be Tune, the fifth-round rookie draft pick out of Houston? All we know for sure is that Gannon isn’t expected to announce the starter until Friday at the earliest.

And he doesn’t even have to do it then if he doesn’t want to.

Asked how Murray was feeling Wednesday morning, Gannon said, “Awesome. He’s fired up, ready to go,” adding, “He was really good in the team meeting today. I put him on the spot.”

What does he know about Tune, should the rookie get the nod?

“He’s going to go in there if he’s in there and let it rip,” Gannon said.

If Murray is going to play, the Cardinals must first activate him from the Reserve/Designated to Return list by adding him to the 53-man roster. Gannon said Monday that if Murray is good to go and feels ready, he’ll be the starter moving forward. But if for whatever reason Murray isn’t completely ready to go, Tune will start Sunday.

Gannon was not specific about who the backup quarterback would be if the latter ended up happening. It could be Murray, but it could be Driskel, who was brought back to the practice squad Wednesday.

“He knows the offense. He’s ready to go,” Gannon said of Driskel, a sixth-round pick by the 49ers in 2016 out of Louisiana Tech.

Jeff Driskel - Wikipedia

After announcing Monday that Josh Dobbs was done as Arizona’s starting QB (he was traded the following day to the Vikings), Gannon was asked if he might know by Wednesday who his starter will be against the Browns.

“We’ll see how the week goes,” he said. “I truly don’t know that. I like to evaluate the week of practice as we go, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and we’ll make that decision as it gets closer to game time.”

Gannon expanded on that minutes later during his weekly radio appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7-FM, saying this when asked what he needs to see out of Murray to make the call.

“Just a week of practice, honestly. We had great strides this last week, got a lot of reps. But I want to see him operate this week and make sure he feels comfortable and then make a decision. … He’s fully healthy. He’s only had however many practices he’s had for a couple weeks. We want to make sure he’s comfortable with everything that we’re doing and then make that decision.”

Unlike most rookies, who can earn playing time by contributing on special teams or here and there in certain packages on offense or defense, a rookie quarterback goes through a separate type of learning protocol in the NFL. It’s a lot of mostly behind-the-scenes tutoring and studying.

Gannon said offensive coordinator Drew Petzing and quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork have been instrumental in that department.

“He does things behind the scenes with those guys that gets him mental reps and the communication standpoint of it,” Gannon said of Tune. “Even just learning football. Defense is different. NFL is different from college. Things that Kyler might know, Clayton might not know.

“It’s just educational pieces and working with him, schematics and techniques, just talking ball a lot of times and he’s really taken to that. The guy puts a lot into it.”

As the Browns and the rest of the NFL wait to learn who will start at quarterback Sunday for the Cardinals, Arizona’s defense is bracing for a similar situation with Cleveland. Deshaun Watson (shoulder) returned to practice on a limited basis for the Browns on Wednesday, but coach Kevin Stefanski said backup P.J. Walker will start if Watson isn’t cleared to return.

“Yeah, you have to have a couple plans. Three really,” Gannon said. “As the week gets going you have to be able to adjust a little bit. Our guys know that. You’ve got to be ready for what you can get on Sunday, so you’ve got to do some work.”

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