TE Dan Arnold makes impression before, during Arizona Cardinals debut

Dec 15, 2019, 8:25 PM | Updated: Dec 16, 2019, 11:13 am
Tight end Dan Arnold #82 of the Arizona Cardinals spikes the ball in celebration after scoring a to...
Tight end Dan Arnold #82 of the Arizona Cardinals spikes the ball in celebration after scoring a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of the NFL football game at State Farm Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Running back Kenyan Drake got a whole couple of days to learn the Arizona Cardinals’ offense before he ran all over the San Francisco 49ers back in his Week 9 debut.

So by that standard, tight end Dan Arnold got an eternity to play catch-up.

A waiver-wire claim 10 days before Arizona’s 38-24 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Arnold made his debut and caught a six-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone just before the end of the first half.

Quarterback Kyler Murray wasn’t surprised by Arnold’s Cardinals debut, adding that “everybody was kind of on notice” from his 10 days being with the team.

“I’ve never had a guy that big that can do what he can do,” Murray said. “It’s pretty nice.”

It was one play in front of fans at State Farm Stadium, but Arnold apparently has gotten the attention of his coaches and teammates from the jump.

“Well, the first day he came in and he caught about two of those on practice squad,” receiver Christian Kirk said. “He quickly worked his way into the gameplan.”

A product of University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Arnold recorded 12 receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown over 10 games last season for the New Orleans Saints. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound tight end appeared in two games with the Saints this season before being released.

He made quick order of making an impact with the Cardinals, tip-toeing the back of the end zone and then spiking the ball a la one of the NFL’s best tight ends in history after his touchdown was confirmed.

“I knew the sideline was pretty close,” he said. “They didn’t give me a signal, so I was like ‘OK, I don’t know about this’ so I didn’t want to celebrate too early. Then they gave me a touchdown signal, so it was good.”

Arnold adds intrigue as head coach Kliff Kingsbury searches for weapons to help his offense.

Getting a look at key future pieces is priority number one for the Cardinals in the final two games of the year.

Already, they’ve gotten a pretty good look at Drake over the past six games, and the running back’s four-touchdown night Sunday did more to confirm their beliefs about his fit.

They released Terrell Suggs to see how Cassius Marsh and Haason Reddick play at outside linebacker, but the latter went down with a groin injury against the Browns.

Add Arnold to the conversation when it comes to the Cardinals’ roster-evaluating as they look toward 2020.

“(Tight ends coach Steve Heiden) got him caught up,” Kingsbury said of the Arnold’s learning curve. “They’ve been working around the clock to make him comfortable, He’s a threat in the passing game, there’s no doubt, and went up and made a great play. We had some other things that I didn’t get to in the gameplan but hopefully he can continue to feel comfortable there and we can use him more.”

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