The talk of the Arizona Cardinals’ pre-season was the outstanding production the offense received from WRs Andy Isabella and Greg Dortch.
Their pre-season totals were as follows:
- Andy Isabella: 14 catches on 23 targets for 226 yards, 16.1 ave. plus, inducing 3 pass interference calls, one, on a 40 yard pass, was off-set by an offensive penalty, the other two combined for 77 yards.
- Greg Dortch: 14 catches on 27 targets for 164 yards, 11.7 ave., Plus inducing 2 pass interference calls for 19 yards combined. 1 TD, 6 punt returns for 104 yards, 17.3 ave., 1 kickoff return for 25 yards, 25.0 ave.
Kliff Kingsbury had this to say about Isabella and Dortch following the team’s final pre-season game: “I thought they attacked this camp. Both of them, every day, full speed, and you see the results. I can’t say enough good things about what they did this camp.”
Greg Dortch is very thankful for the bond he and his teammate created: “Andy Isabella is a tough soldier, man. Me and him worked out this whole offseason together, we came out together out of college. I have so much respect for that guy. It’s been a battle with this whole receivers room.”
Speculation during the team’s cutdown to 53 was that Dortch was a lock to make the roster and that Isabella could be traded. Isabella, when asked whether he was versos about making the team or getting traded replied, “I’m not nervous at all. If it’s here, I’ll put my best foot forward each day. I don’t want to have happen what happened last year, where I am sitting around the whole time. I played well, I put good tape out there. I’m excited for the season.”
Isabella also added, “They (Cardinals) are not going to break me.”
Both Dortch and Isabella made the 53 man roster and come Week 1, with slot WR Rondale Moore nursing a hamstring injury, Greg Dortch got the start. Andy Isabella remained the backup to A.J. Green. Here were their weekly lines:
Week 1: KC 44 ARI 21
- Dortch: 7 catches on 9 targets for 63 yards, 9.0 ave. (leading the team in catches and yards)
- Isabella: 1 catch on 3 targets for 10 yards, 10.0 ave.
Week 2: ARI 29 LV 23
- Dortch: 4 catches on 4 targets for 55 yards, 13.8 ave., 1 TD
- Isabella: inactive, lower back injury (inured while weight training)
Week 3: LAR 20 ARI
- Dortch: 9 catches on 10 targets for 80 yards, 8.9 ave.
- Isabella: 1 catch on 2 targets for 11 yards, 11.0 ave.
Week 4: ARI 26 CAR 16
- Dortch: 1 catch on 1 target for 6 yards, 6.0 ave,
- Isabella: 0 catches on 0 targets
Rondale Moore’s return (65 snaps) relegated Greg Dortch (27 snaps) to one target.
That, imho, is a mistake.
There is a strong possibility that Greg Dortch could emerge as the team’s clutch 3rd down go-to WR —- something the offense very much needs.
Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore are apt to draw CB1 and CB2. That would mean Greg Dortch would be covered by CB3 or even a safety or cover linebacker.
This week, Andy Isabella was granted his wish that the Cardinals release him. Izzy has been reading the writing on the wall for a few years now, having had to play behind 3 future Hall of Famers in Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green. And then having to play behind a former 1st round pick in Marquise Brown (Kyler’s best friend and go-to deep threat WR at Oklahoma), and two other 2nd round picks who were drafted higher than he was in Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore (Kirk and Kyler had the Texas A&M bond and Kyler implored GM Steve Keim to draft Moore).
Andy cleared waivers and with several teams interested in signing him to their practice squads, Andy chose to sign with the Ravens. One might imagine that Andy felt that he has a decent chance to fill the void left by the speedy WR Marquise Brown.
But, now that yet another of the numerous Cardinals’ draft picks at WR has not panned out with the team, wouldn’t it be wise to make a stronger commitment to Greg Dortch? This ocelot-quick undrafted free agent is not only a gifted playmaker, he’s the first Cardinals’ punt returner since Patrick Peterson’s rookie year to return punts with great desire, aggressiveness and tenacity.
This season Greg Dortch is playing on a 1 year $895 contract. In 2023, he is a restricted free agent. Thus, with a good tender offer, the Cardinals have an excellent chance of keeping him for at least another year —- and hopefully for many years to come, if his GM, HC, WRC and QB are willing.
Greg Dortch is also pretty tight with Antoine Wesley (who is on the verge of returning). He and Tweezy have been very generous in giving their time and support to the community:
This is how and why Greg Dortch is cooking his meals in Arizona —- he’s earned every morsel of them in practice.
Please Kliff and Kyler keep feeding the Dortch.
Please, Cardinals, carry the Dortch.