Cardinals QB Chris Streveler credits time in CFL as basis for NFL success

Photo courtesy: Arizona Cardinals

Chris Streveler won’t ever forget where he came from.

Streveler made his debut with the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in a 24-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. The dual-threat quarterback holds the Canadian Football League in high regard for preparing him for success in the NFL.

“I really can’t say enough about my time in the CFL, it’s obvious that without that time I wouldn’t be here. Coming out of college, I didn’t have any NFL looks, I went right up there. That time there gave me this opportunity down here,” Streveler said.

“It taught me how to prepare day in and day out for a long season playing against high level players, it taught me how to take care of my body like a professional. It’s given me so many tools where had I not been up there for two years, I wouldn’t have the opportunities down here that I have right now.”

The 25-year-old used his work ethic and character along with elite athleticism to impress Cards’ head coach Kilff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim during training camp. He earned the backup quarterback job behind entrenched franchise QB Kyler Murray, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Streveler beat out incumbent Brett Hundley for the role of second-string.

“It doesn’t really matter where I sit on the depth chart, it’s just about trying to make the most of those opportunities and get better everyday,” Streveler said.

“I’m just focused on taking it day by day, trying to keep developing and getting better with every opportunity that the coaches give me, trying to make the most of every opportunity.”

The six-foot-one, 216-pounder was productive on his only offensive snap in Week 1. Late in the third quarter, Streveler ran onto the field for a third-and-one play. Murray lined up in the left slot and motioned behind Streveler to the right as the physical runner surged forward for three yards and a first down. 11 play later, Murray scrambled 22 yards into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.

“It’s a big deal for anyone to get in their first NFL game and get a little action, it meant a lot to me. It meant a lot that I was able to contribute in a small way on such a big drive in the game. Basically what happened was the same thing that had been going on in the CFL for a couple years. It was definitely fun to get that opportunity,” Streveler said.

“It was definitely really exciting, getting in, first carry, that’s obviously a big deal. The way that it happened it was just exactly like I was doing the wedge stuff up in Canada. It was like, ‘alright, third and one, I’m coming in the game let’s hit this QB sneak.’ It was eerily similar how I ran out there, got the sneak and ran off.”

11 months ago, Streveler was playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as a key part of the 2019 championship team. He rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown in the West Semi-Final in Calgary and threw a touchdown pass to Andrew Harris in the Grey Cup. Streveler’s performance in the post-season caught the attention of NFL scouts. He worked out for Arizona, Tampa Bay and Miami.

“My mindset has been just taking it day by day, that’s what you have to do in this business and in this world. Nothing’s ever promised for the next day, so you just have to try to make the most of the day that you have in front of you and do the best with that you can,” Streveler said.

“After that Grey Cup, there’s been a lot of things that have been outside of my control. It’s worked out for me thus far and I’m just going to keep rolling with that same mindset. It definitely has been a whirlwind, I’d be lying if I told you I hadn’t taken a couple times here and there to sit back and reflect on this crazy journey that I’ve had in the last few months.”

During two regular seasons in The Peg, Streveler threw for 2,698 yards along with 19 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He rushed for 1,167 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. That led to the University of South Dakota product drawing comparisons to New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Taysom Hill as an explosive athlete who can attack defences with his arm and legs.

“From winning the Grey Cup, and then having opportunities down here to do workouts, and signing here, and getting opportunities in camp to come in and compete, make the team, all that stuff has been crazy,” Streveler said.

“That’s something [the CFL] that’s never lost on me, something that I’m definitely appreciative of. It’s stuff that even today coming in and doing things, that stuff that I incorporated into my time up there, it’s all stuff that plays out every single day down here and without that I wouldn’t be where I am.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.