Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Kyler Murray will be very limited in his options at receiver this weekend against the Panthers. Following injuries and suspensions, Arizona is heading into Bank of America Stadium with only four active receivers. Yes, you read that right, the Cardinals have four receivers available for Sunday’s game.
DeAndre Hopkins is still serving his six-game suspension. AJ Green is questionable and expected to miss a week with bone bruising in his knee. Rondale Moore is still questionable with a hamstring injury that sidelined him for Arizona’s first three games. Antoine Wesely is still on the injured reserve with a hip injury.
So the Cardinals are left with Marquise Brown, Andy Isabella, Greg Dortch, and practice squad call-up Andre Baccellia. Brown, Murray’s college teammate at Oklahoma, has been his favorite target thus far with 24 receptions, 251 yards, and only one touchdown.
Isabella and Dortch will have to step up big if the Cardinals want to avoid going 1-3. Dortch has played well this season as a relief for Murray. He will presumably be WR2 this weekend as he enters this game with 20 receptions, 198 yards, and one touchdown. Isabella is talented, yet hasn’t seen the targets that Dortch has.
For a Cardinals team already struggling with DeAndre Hopkins’s absence, catching the injury bug was the last thing this team needed. The Cardinals are now 1.5-point underdogs on the road.
Thankfully Arizona has all four tight ends available this weekend. Expect to see Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams share the field frequently to give Murray more options in the passing game.
The Bottom Line
If the Cardinals want a win this weekend it starts with Kliff Kingsbury. The coaching staff needs to find a way to inject some life into this offense. They can’t rely on Kyler Murray to lead a game-winning drive every weekend. The defense also needs to avoid getting down early in games, forcing the offense to mount a comeback. Despite their tough schedule, this game might be the hardest for a short-handed Cardinals team.
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