Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury ‘very confident’ in quarterback Chris Streveler

Photo courtesy: Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury believes quarterback Chris Streveler is prepared if he’s called upon to start.

Current starting QB Kyler Murray suffered an AC joint sprain in his right throwing shoulder during Arizona’s (6-4) loss to Seattle (7-3) in Week 11. If the 2019 No. 1 overall pick is unable to play on Sunday against New England, the former Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ pivot would start his first career NFL game.

“He’s improved each day, which is encouraging. We’ll see what it looks like Sunday and go from there. We’ve definitely made progress,” Kingsbury said regarding Murray in a video conference.

“You’re not going to feel your best at this point in the season, none of those guys are that are back there taking snaps, and he understands that. He’s definitely taken that step where he knows he can still play at a high level even when he’s not at his best.”

Murray has started all 10 games so far for Arizona. He’s completed 68 percent of his passes for 2,644 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions while rushing 92 times for 619 yards — 6.7 yards per carry — and 10 more touchdowns. If Streveler was put into action, Kingsbury is confident he can produce while running the entire offence, even if it’s not to Murray’s level.

“Very confident in Chris. He’s really developed nicely from training camp on. Each week he has the entire game plan, the entire install, and he gets a bunch of extra reps,” Kingsbury said.

When Streveler isn’t behind centre in practice he’s taking mental reps and staying engaged. Offensive assistant and assistant quarterbacks coach Cam Turner has helped the dual-threat pivot stay ready if he’s called upon.

“Every time we’ve asked him to go in, any drill, any two-minute, he’s handled it really well. Not only the coaching staff, but the players have a lot of confidence in Chris to go in there and operate at a high level,” Kingsbury said.

During Week 1 of the NFL season, Streveler became the first former CFL quarterback to register an NFL statistic in almost eleven years. Jeff Garcia recorded three carries for minus-two yards and a fumble as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles on September 27, 2009. It was the final time the 1998 Grey Cup MVP would record a statistic in his career.

The ultra-athletic Streveler has drawn comparisons to New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Taysom Hill as an explosive athlete who can attack defences with his arm and legs. He runs a 4.45-second 40-yard dash, posted a 38.5-inch vertical, and fired off a 10-foot, five-inch broad jump at six-foot-two, 209 pounds coming out of the NCAA.

He used those raw physical attributes to have success with the Bombers during his two seasons playing north of the border. Streveler impressed the coaching staff immediately and played a key role in Winnipeg’s 2019 Grey Cup run. He rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown in the West Semi-Final and threw a touchdown pass in the Grey Cup, a 33-12 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Streveler could go from winning a CFL title to starting in the NFL.

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