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Injuries May Make Cardinals Eye Andy, And Friday Before The Chiefs

DeAndre Hopkins is suspended, Antoine Wesley is on IR, and now Rondale Moore's hamstring means a third key wide receiver will miss Sunday's opener against the Chiefs.

Andy Isabella, he of the big preseason – both on the field, and in front of the microphone seeking a bigger role – is suddenly necessary. The Cardinals will have Isabella and Greg Dortch join A.J. Green and Hollywood Brown as the main receiving corps, and to that, Isabella invokes a Winston Churchill quote that he was told.

" 'Shame on the man when he's tapped on the shoulder if he's not ready, ' " Isabella recounted.

That's an accurate paraphrase, in fact. The full quote: "To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour."

Will this be Isabella's – or Dortch's – finest hour? Facing the Chiefs the Cardinals will need a few finest performances. It feels like the offense will have to carry a defense that is short on cornerback depth and has some questions (although having Markus Golden back and probably happy doesn't hurt.) Kyler Murray should have Zach Ertz as another passing target, and it seems likely the Cardinals will have their planned starting offensive line. Brown is motivated with his new team.

But it would be a great story if Isabella indeed could turn his excellent preseason and confidence/anger in his career to make an impact. It might even be what the Cards need to lift them to a win, while they wait to see how much time Moore might miss.

"I am ready for whatever opportunity I have," Isabella said. "I've prepared for this moment, I've worked my butt off, and I'll be ready when they put me in."

-- While Golden’s situation seems stabilized, so does fellow outside linebacker Devon Kennard's. But the veteran admitted the sequence last week – when he was surprisingly released, and then asked to come back to the practice squad – was difficult for him.

"At first I went through every emotion possible," Kennard said. "I was (expletive) pissed and upset. Frustrated and confused. But then I kind of settled in and just was what it was. There's football and the business of football. I didn't and still don't agree with the decision, but once I was released, I had opportunities to go elsewhere and I was trying to figure out the best situation for my career. They still wanted me here and coming back made a lot of sense.

"I kind of had to put my pride aside, to be honest. That was the best decision, and I love the guys in this locker room."

Kennard grew up just a few miles from the Cardinals' Tempe facility on the other side of the I-10, but he made it clear staying was not about being home but the chance to have a role. Both Kliff Kingsbury and Vance Joseph already have said that Kennard is expected to play Sunday even with his practice squad status.

"Even when I was released, VJ and Kliff, they made it clear they wanted me here," Kennard said.

-- The Cardinals are only allowed to elevate two from the practice squad for Sunday, so if Kennard is one, is the other a wide receiver? A cornerback? An offensive lineman? There might have to be some weekend roster moves with all the injuries.

-- Byron Murphy questionable with an illness, with Antonio Hamilton and Trayvon Mullen already out and the cornerbacks thin as they are? This is going to be very, very interesting against Patrick Mahomes.

-- Hamilton was at the facility this week, at one point seen walking around without the hint of the burned feet that will keep him out the first four games. That seems to be a good sign.

-- Since Kingsbury and Murray showed up, they have gone 2-0-1 in season openers (and somehow salvaged a tie in 2019 after a disastrous beginning against the Lions). But Mahomes in his four season-opening starts in his career has been mind-blowing: 4-0 record, 13 touchdown passes, no interceptions, a passer rating of 134.

-- All this talk about wide receiver play and who is and who isn't, it feels like we haven't talked much lately about Hollywood Brown. When Kyler and Hollywood last played together, Murray threw 11 touchdown passes to Brown – and their average length was 51 yards. I don't think that's gonna happen in the NFL, but if the Cardinals can turn Brown into that much of a deep threat, that'll make an impact.

-- I can announce – especially to all the people who had reached out this offseason about such a thing – that Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie is coming back. Alas, no, he won't be signing a contract to play cornerback (he hasn't played an NFL game since 2019, people), but he will be turning the Big Red Siren before the game.

-- At halftime, don't forget the ceremony for late owner Bill Bidwill to go into the Ring of Honor.

-- A reminder to those attending: Make sure you have your parking pass called up on your phone as you get to the attendant. And make sure your tickets are already called up on your phone when getting to the front of the entrance line. It'll make things smoother for everyone.

-- The season is here. We'll see where it goes. As always, no overreactions either way Sunday – it's way too early. (Yeah, I'm sure that'll stop all of you in my Twitter feed.)

See you Sunday.

WR Andy Isabella
WR Andy Isabella