A large portion of the Cardinals’ fans were skeptical when the team spent the second-round draft at Colorado State tight end Trey McBride. He may have been the highest rated in the draft, but it really wasn’t a necessary position for the Cardinals, who already had Zach Erts and Max Williams and signed free agent Stephen Anderson.
During the first two games of the season, McBride had yet to make an impact. He was a healthy scratch in the first week against the bosses and only played once in the second week against the raiders. It remains to be seen how active he will be on Sunday when the Cardinals host the Rams at State Farm Stadium.
“He’s doing better and better,” coach Cliff Kingsbury said after training on Friday. “I love everything about him, so I expect his role to increase as the season goes on. We feel like we have four tight ends that can all function at a high level.
“He has a great personality to learn from at Ertz, so we couldn’t be more excited about the path he’s taking and I expect him to play more this week and continue to expand his role.”
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Ertz, now in his 10th NFL season, said McBride will find out soon enough.
“It’s a process, it’s a journey and you have to get better every day,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which round you’re drafted. When you walk into the locker room, nobody cares about that anymore. He just has to keep working. He obviously wants to be there in every game, just like everyone else.”
“You can tell what steps he’s taking. In training, you can tell things are starting to slow down for him. He just has to keep working, like we all do. Where is he now, he won’t be in three weeks, and if he is, that’s a reflection Bad for him and I know it’s not. He’ll be a good player. He’ll help us. Everyone wants instant success in this junior league and that’s not the case sometimes.”
James Conner, who suffered an ankle injury early in the second half against the Raiders, was able to train again on Friday, but it would be a game-time decision versus the Rams, according to Kingsbury.
“We’ll take him out there on Sunday (in pre-game practice), run him and see where he is,” Kingsbury said.
Wide receiver Rondale Moore (hamstring) and reserve back Ezekiel Turner (ankle) were left out. Kingsbury said he hopes Moore can return sometime in the next two weeks, likely week five against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.
Kingsbury said the team had never considered putting Moore in the injured reserve, which would have kept him out for the first four games and allowed the Cardinals to raise someone else to the active roster.
“No, we just thought based on the way things went, he had the opportunity to come back and he’s a man who is going to have a very important role in this crime,” Kingsbury said. “If we can beat (the four-game window) with a game, we wanted to seize that opportunity.”
The Rams excluded four players from Sunday’s game: Brian Allen (knee), wide receiver Jefferson (knee), fullback Kobe Durant (hamstring) and David Long Jr. (groin). Defensive back Jordan Fuller (hamstring) is questionable.
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Mickey Joseph, older brother of Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, is Nebraska’s interim head coach after Scott Frost was fired and there has been some talk of him being named permanent coach.
Vance, 50, said of Mickey, 54, “I love it for him. He’s obviously a good coach and he was the quarterback for Nebraska, and he’s proud of the program. But we’ll see. It’s tough when you’re an interim head coach because it’s not your culture, and it’s not quite your team.” But children love to play with him wherever he is. This is his advantage. Children love him, and people love him, so I hope he can turn him around.
“It’s not really based on wins but on changing the culture and the winning process. I hope he changes those things and someone sees him and gives him a chance. He’s all there and he’s excited about this opportunity.”
The Oklahoma Sooners 49-14 in their first game as interim coach acquired Joseph Cornhuskers. Nebraska meets Indiana on October 1.
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The Cardinal would not have had a chance to force overtime Sunday against the Invaders if quarterback Keeler Murray had not been patient and confident in the pocket before unleashing a two-point conversion pass to wide diving receiver AJ Green at the back of the end zone through a sea of traffic.
“Kyler did an incredible throw to focus AJ and AJ, it’s very difficult when you kind of lose the ball, you don’t know if a player is going to turn it over or not,” Erts said. “There are a lot of things that can go wrong with that play and AJ found a way to get it done.
Ertz was also an option in the pass game, but Green managed to catch the pass after swaying and drop at least two passes earlier in the second half.
“I know he was very pleased with his accomplishment in this position,” Ertz said of Green. “He just talks about the will of players who are ready whenever their number is called, no matter what point in the game, the way they practice, the way they prepare. AJ was probably the best player, the best skill guy throughout training camp, so no one was surprised he went He did this play.
Ertz vows to fight hunger in Arizona
The Ertz Family Foundation and The Athletes’ Corner are bringing back the Score More n’ Feed More initiative, where they will help provide meals to Arizona food banks for every touchdown the Cardinals score this season.
This is the third year that the Zack and Julie Ertes Foundation has partnered with Athletes’ Corner to help fight hunger. The pledge is to provide 500,000 meals by the time the initiative ends at the end of the season. The program will provide 10,000 meals for every Cardinals landing.
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