Cardinals mindful of getting looks for deep threats Kirk, Isabella

Sep 20, 2020, 8:08 PM
Landon Collins #26 of the Washington Football Team makes a tackle on Andy Isabella #17 of the Arizo...
Landon Collins #26 of the Washington Football Team makes a tackle on Andy Isabella #17 of the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at State Farm Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. Cardinals won 30-15. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

It was only four catches combined for wide receivers Andy Isabella and Christian Kirk in the Arizona Cardinals’ 30-15 win over the Washington Football Team, but it’s clear through two weeks what their primary role on the team is going to be.

Second-year quarterback Kyler Murray has completed 33 of his 37 passes attempted to the pair of DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald. Many of those have been shorter throws, as head coach Kliff Kingsbury likes facilitating the offensive gameplan through those types of looks.

But the offense needs to 1) establish threats elsewhere to keep the go-to options churning and 2) have a counter if defenses want to put single coverage down the field on deep threats.

That’s where Isabella and Kirk come in.

Isabella caught a 54-yard look from Murray in the second quarter that set up a field goal, and it was the same for Kirk’s 49-yard catch the next drive. That was essentially six extra insurance points earned mostly off two plays, which was needed on a day where the Cardinals failed to capitalize on their chances to score.

“[Kirk] had a tremendous catch on the sideline,” Kingsbury said.

“And then it was awesome to see Andy. Andy has some real speed. It surprises people the way he can get up on them. You saw that today, and we have to keep being able to utilize him and mix him in.”

With Fitzgerald and Hopkins dominating the target timeshare, as they should, it’s obviously going to be a challenge to get Kirk and Isabella their fair share. The two combined for six targets on Sunday. Isabella accounted for 67 receiving yards and 57 more coming from Kirk, who was battling leg “tightness” for much of the game, according to Kingsbury.

“There’re a lot of talented wideouts out there,” Kingsbury said. “You mix in Dan Arnold and Chase (Edmonds) and K.D. (Kenyan Drake). It’s my job to make sure all those guys are getting involved with getting the football.”

It’s on the quarterback’s mind too.

“When they touch the ball, something could happen at any moment,” Murray said. “It’s a good feeling to have when you have everybody you feel you have faith in, can make plays when they touch the ball. Obviously, like I said, not everybody is going to be able to touch the ball, but I hope to get those guys more touches. I hope to get everybody more touches.”

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