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Andy Isabella Tries To Work His Way Into Offensive Playing Time

Notes: Reddick improving at linebacker; Lee a question for Sunday

WR Andy Isabella could get more offensive snaps now that Damiere Byrd is out with a hamstring injury.
WR Andy Isabella could get more offensive snaps now that Damiere Byrd is out with a hamstring injury.

Andy Isabella's locker recently was moved over near all the other wide receivers, after he spent the offseason and preseason in a stall next to the running backs across the room.

The rookie second-round pick has gotten physically closer to the other guys in his position off the field. He's working on getting closer to them on the field, in terms of his play.

Isabella has had one offensive snap in two games and was inactive in Week 2. His role could grow at least a little Sunday against the Seahawks, with starter Damiere Byrd out with a hamstring injury. Trent Sherfield will start in Byrd's place, behind the top three wideouts Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and KeeSean Johnson.

Then there is Isabella, who will work as a gunner on special teams for sure but whose offensive work will be determined by the flow of the game, coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday.

Isabella smiles when asked about the slow start to his NFL career. There is little else he can do but work and wait.

"Of course it's hard, when you've had something pictured in your head of how it's supposed to go and it's gone different," Isabella said. "But I'm staying positive and doing what I can."

Kingsbury said Isabella, who worked mainly in the slot all offseason and training camp, played enough on the outside in college at the University of Massachusetts that the Cards – who have worked with Isabella at multiple spots – would be OK with him being out there.

The Cardinals have had at least six wide receivers active each game – last week it was seven – although with Byrd down and Michael Crabtree released, the number will be five on Sunday. Kingsbury said that would not impact the Cards' offensive plans.

Sherfield, who also has had few offensive snaps and one memorable drop against Carolina, has been excellent as a gunner on special teams. He said he'll still fill that role as much as possible against the Seahawks.

"It's unfortunate we have one of our guys down, but it opens a door for me," Sherfield said. "It didn't shake out the way I wanted it to these first couple of games but I have to take advantage of this week. I'm totally confident in my ability to play."

Isabella, meanwhile, is hoping that gunner isn't the only work he gets.

"Mentally, it can beat you down and beat you down a lot," Isabella said. "(Coaches) tell you all these things and you think you're doing it right. It's a hard process. You can get down about something you're not doing right and you think 'Oh, maybe they don't like me.' But you can't think about it like that. They're just coaching you and want you to get better. So you keep a good attitude and work hard and wait for your opportunity."


His roller-coaster career – brief as it has been – has been well-chronicled, all the way through the knee surgery that kept Haason Reddick out of training camp and the preseason. His status as a first-round pick is also well-documented.

But as the Cardinals try to fix their defense on the fly, Reddick's improving performances – in both (snap) quantity and quality – are needed. "Haason is a guy we probably don't talk about enough," General Manager Steve Keim said during an interview on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station.

"I'm not trying to prove anything to anybody," Reddick said. "There is nothing to prove to anybody other than myself. I want to prove to myself I belong here and that I can be one of the best at the position. I know I am far away from being one of the best, but I'm right there in terms of playing hard. I've still got some growing to do."

Reddick, who didn't start practicing fully until the regular season, played 48 of 84 defensive snaps in Week 1, 65 of 77 defensive snaps in Week 2 and then all 60 defensive snaps in Week 3. Coaches credited Reddick with 12 tackles – one for loss – and two passes defensed against Carolina.

"He made some plays last week," defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said. "It wasn't all perfect. He's obviously productive because he's talented. The more he plays linebacker, he's going to play better and better for us. He has to be out there because, when we talk about tight ends and running backs, he's one guy with the physical traits to cover those type of athletes. We have to continue to work on him getting better because he can be an asset for us."

When the last comment is relayed to Reddick, it just reinforces to him how crucial his development remains for the Cardinals.

"I judge myself on a week-to-week basis because the goal is to get better every week," Reddick said. "Last week was decent, but there are things I have to do better. I'm just trying to put together a perfect game, a game where someone would say, 'Look how far this guy has really come.' "


Kingsbury said the Cardinals were "still working through" the status of punter Andy Lee, who officially did not practice again Friday while he deals with a hip flexor. If Lee remains questionable, the Cardinals would have to promote practice-squad punter Ryan Winslow by Saturday for Winslow to be eligible to play Sunday.

Safety Charles Washington (shoulder), one of the Cards' top special teamers, is also out. Joining Lee as questionable are defensive lineman Miles Brown (shoulder) and offensive lineman Lamont Gaillard (knee).

For the Seahawks, guard Ethan Pocic (back) is doubtful. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah (back), defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson (hip), running back Rashaad Penny (hamstring) and cornerback Neiko Thorpe (hamstring) are all questionable.

Images of the Cardinals cheerleaders during the Week 3 matchup against Carolina

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