Cardinals preparing 'aggressive' plan to pursue starting QB

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy hasn’t seen a situation like the one the Arizona Cardinals are in very often in his career.

Arizona doesn’t currently have a quarterback under contract for the 2018 season. As the Cardinals' new coaches, led by Steve Wilks, begin catching up on free-agency meetings and preparing for a trip next week to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, they're starting to plan for the season without their most important player.

“This is a unique year,” McCoy told ESPN. “Not very often do you come into a new year with not a single quarterback on your roster. I think, as Coach mentioned earlier, we’ve got a plan.”

The Cardinals will be “very aggressive” in finding a quarterback, Wilks said, whether it be through a trade, free agency or the draft.

“We’re going to get someone in that room that [quarterbacks coach] Byron [Leftwich] is going to do a great job of coaching and mentoring.”

While McCoy and Leftwich will be the two coaches most responsible for grooming and preparing the Cardinals’ next starting quarterback, the defensive-minded Wilks will have the say in who that quarterback will be.

“I’ll have a lot of input in it -- a whole lot,” Wilks said. “But, yeah, we’re going to work together in making sure that we bring the right guy in here. Again, coaches are watching tape. We’re evaluating, as well. [General manager] Steve Keim and myself [are] constantly talking and communicating about our game plan and things that we want to do.

“Anybody that’s coming on this roster I will have definite input and [be a] major factor in bringing them in.”

Wilks wouldn’t commit to having four quarterbacks on the roster when the Cardinals are allowed to begin offseason workouts on April 2, but he said Arizona will have “as many as we can” by then and eventually have four on the roster.

Heading into the combine, less than three weeks from the start of free agency, the Cardinals’ plan at quarterback is starting to come into focus.

“We have a good idea of what we want to do, and we’ll see what happens,” McCoy said.

The Cardinals understand that while they can prepare a wish list, anything can happen.

But they are still prepping. The coaching staff has discussed the free-agent quarterback options with the personnel department, McCoy said.

“There’s no guarantees picking free agents,” he added. “Going into the draft, there are no guarantees. But we have our plan. You kind of have your pecking order, as you can say. You always evaluate guys. There’s your wish list and things you’d like to have. There are certain decisions players make in free agency that you have no control over. You just go out and you stick to your plan.

“That’s the most important thing. Stick to our plan and it all works itself out in the long run.”