Being the starting quarterback for one of the NFL's 32 franchises can be a fleeting opportunity for some, and that is now the case for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs. The 28-year-old former fourth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018 has seen game action for three teams -- the Steelers (five games in 2018 and one game in 2020), the Titans (two starts in 2022) and the Cardinals (started the first eight games of 2023).
Now, his time under center for Arizona is in the rearview mirror as Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon announced on Monday that fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune will start against the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday if franchise quarterback Kyler Murray isn't fully ready to return to play after suffering a torn ACL last season.
"I talked to all of the quarterbacks this morning, and we're going to keep ramping up Kyler [Murray] and see how he progresses throughout the week. If it's not Kyler, it's going to be Clayton Tune," Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon said on Monday. "I talked to all three quarterbacks, and I'm on the same page with them on how we're going to operate moving forward."
Dobbs threw for eight touchdowns, five interceptions and 1,569 passing yards on a 62.8% completion percentage, which adds up to an 82.1 passer rating this season, the seventh-worst in the NFL among 32 qualified quarterbacks. He also has 258 rushing yards, the second-most on the team, and a team-high three rushing touchdowns this season on 47 carries. Dobbs didn't throw for 275 or more yards in any of his eight starts, and the Cardinals lost seven of those eight games. Their lone win this season came in a 28-16 victory against the Dallas Cowboys when they ran for a season-high 222 rushing yards. Arizona hasn't ran for 155 or more yards on the ground as a team in any other game this season.
Given Murray's injury status, he may play, but a start for Murray is more likely in Week 10 against the Atlanta Falcons, according to NFL Media. That means Tune, the 24-year-old 139th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, will likely make his first career start against the Browns on Sunday, a team that has the number one total defense in the league (260.0 total yards per game allowed). Tune will be the eighth rookie quarterback to start in 2023, which would be the most in the NFL through Week 9 of a season since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger. This excludes the 1987 strike season when there were 14.
Tune has completed his only career NFL pass for four yards in a 20-10 road loss at the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7. He was incredibly productive in college as his 104 touchdown passes were the second-most in University of Houston school history behind Case Keenum's 155, the most in FBS history. He had his best season in 2022 with a career-high 4,074 passing yards and 40 passing touchdowns, tied for the third most in college football, trailing only 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and eventual 2023 second overall draft pick C.J. Stroud.