Much was made about Trey McBride's recent 100-yard game, and how it was the Cardinals' first such game for a tight end since Rob Awalt did it last in 1989. Looking back on Awalt's 1989 season -- his last with the Cardinals before departing to the Cowboys -- what is fascinating is that his 105-yard day against Dallas that season was almost 30 percent of his receiving yards that whole year. Awalt only had 360 yards total in 1989, on 33 catches. He had 26 or fewer yards in 13 of 16 games.
All this is to underscore that the Cardinals simply have never truly highlighted the tight end since moving to Arizona. And why McBride's season -- especially since Zach Ertz went down with a quad injury -- and current groin issue means so much.
With five games left, McBride has 48 receptions for 521 yards. With nine more catches, he would break the franchise record for receptions in a season for a tight end. Those 521 yards is already the 14th best tight end season in franchise history, and he has a good chance to surpass Ertz's 574 yards in 2021 (in only 11 games) as the most tight end yards in a season since moving to Arizona in 1988.
(Had Ertz not torn his ACL last season, he'd almost certainly own the receptions and yards marks himself already.)
McBride would have to do serious work one season to set the franchise mark for yards -- Hall of Famer Jackie Smith had 1,205 in 1967 on only 56 receptions, an astounding 21.5-yard per catch average -- but he has a chance to be an important cog in the passing offense as this staff gets settled. That's what you want from a second-round pick, and he has shown his abilities.
Ertz remains on IR and as the weeks slide by, we will have to see if he gets back on the field this season. (UPDATE: He won't, since he was released an hour after this was posted.)
The Cardinals need McBride out there, especially Sunday in Pittsburgh. That McBride was out watching practice on Wednesday rather than inside rehabbing could be a good sign.