NFL coaches have tried to keep their starting quarterbacks a secret until kickoff, but that rarely works. Nobody told Arizona Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon.
At some point early in the week, the quarterbacks are usually told who the starter will be so they can prepare. The team is told. Even if they're not told, the team practices during the week, with the starting quarterback taking first-team snaps. The quarterbacks involved might want to tell family, friends and their agent about the news they were given. Teammates could spill the beans too. There are a lot of people in an NFL facility, and it's nearly impossible to keep the starting quarterback a mystery or to swear everyone in the building to secrecy.
Gannon is a first-year coach and maybe he didn't know all of that. Either way, he wanted to keep the Washington Commanders from knowing his starting QB decision until kickoff. By the way, the choice was between Joshua Dobbs, whom Arizona just acquired for a fifth-round pick in late August, and rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Tune.
“I ain’t telling you anything,” Gannon said Wednesday, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.
Ah, but that's not really how it works. Sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Media that Dobbs is the choice for Week 1. The Commanders won't be up late at night worrying anymore.
Dobbs did OK late last season considering the situation. He was signed off the Detroit Lions' practice squad by the Tennessee Titans, whose season was slipping away with rookie Malik Willis struggling at quarterback. Dobbs had never made an NFL start, but he started twice down the stretch and wasn't bad. The Browns signed him this offseason but traded him when the Cardinals were looking for a quarterback after cutting Colt McCoy.
The cat is out of the bag now. Dobbs will be the starter against Washington, Rapoport reported. Maybe Gannon will still try to keep up the charade until kickoff.