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Young Cardinals Receivers On Deck After Michael Crabtree Release

Notes: Lee doesn't practice; Murray deals with losing

Rookie WR KeeSean Johnson should see more playing time after the release of Michael Crabtree.
Rookie WR KeeSean Johnson should see more playing time after the release of Michael Crabtree.

Michael Crabtree's tenure with the Cardinals lasted just three unremarkable games.

The veteran wide receiver never became a big part of the offense, and because he was not a clear upgrade at the position, the team cut bait on Monday.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury said the move was designed to give his younger pass-catchers more playing time in 2019.

"We feel like there are a lot of very talented young players in that receiving corps, and we needed to see what they've got, see how they develop as the season goes on," Kingsbury said.

Sixth-round pick KeeSean Johnson was already playing more than Crabtree, and he figures to have a substantial role moving forward. It could also open the door for Trent Sherfield to see more snaps. The second-year wideout had a crucial drop against the Panthers but was solid in the preseason.

Johnson, who has nine catches for 90 yards through three games, was glad to hear Kingsbury spoke highly of the young wideouts, but said it can't go to their heads.

"It definitely means something, but that can only take you so far," Johnson said. "Once you get the opportunity, you've got to go out there and show them come game time."

It is unclear whether Crabtree's release will open up any playing time for second-round pick Andy Isabella. He has only played one offensive snap this season and was inactive against the Ravens in Week 2.

"We'll see where that goes with Andy," Kingsbury said. "He's going to have to earn those reps. He's definitely able. We've moved him around a bit, inside, outside and that probably hasn't helped his development. But he's working hard at it. I'd expect him to see more time down the road."


Punter Andy Lee (hip flexor) didn't practice on Wednesday, and it is unclear if he will be available for Sunday's game against the Seahawks. The Cardinals signed punter Ryan Winslow to their practice squad on Monday as a backup option.

Winslow was with the team throughout the offseason and training camp, which helps the continuity of the special teams group if he is called upon. Winslow will be the punter and holder if he plays.

"I think there's a comfort level for everybody," Kingsbury said. "We felt like he performed very well in the preseason on all levels, and if he has to step up, then we have a lot of confidence in him."

Wide receiver Damiere Byrd (hamstring), guard/center Lamont Gaillard (knee) and safety Charles Washington (shoulder) also didn't practice. Those limited were defensive tackle Miles Brown (shoulder), defensive end Jonathan Bullard (hamstring), defensive tackle Corey Peters (not injury related) and linebacker Ezekiel Turner (hamstring/hand).

For the Seahawks, tackle Duane Brown (biceps), defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson (hip), running back Rashaad Penny (hamstring) and cornerback Neiko Thorpe (hamstring) did not practice. Those limited were defensive end Ziggy Ansah (back), cornerback Tre Flowers (ankle), defensive tackle Poona Ford (calf), running back Travis Horner (quadricep), wideout Tyler Lockett (not injury related), wideout D.K. Metcalf (not injury related) and guard Ethan Pocic (back).


Kyler Murray only lost three starts in college, but it's been a much tougher row to hoe in the NFL. The rookie quarterback, who has said many times how much he hates to lose, is winless in his first three games.

He is learning how to deal with the more regular setbacks.

"You've just got to be optimistic," Murray said. "You've got to be positive about it. You're the quarterback. You're the leader of the team. So I can't be walking around with my head down."

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