Red & White notebook: Cardinals knock rust off, Colt McCoy impresses
Aug 7, 2021, 5:12 PM | Updated: Aug 9, 2021, 7:55 am
GLENDALE — The Arizona Cardinals got their first real taste of the season with their Red & White practice on Saturday.
More than anything, the practice provides the players and coaches with the opportunity to work on the little things like communicating calls and getting a general feel for the game flow.
It also showcases the new team to the fans in attendance.
For quarterback Kyler Murray, this year’s Red & White practice marked his second since coming into the league in 2019 due to COVID-19 shuttering the event last season.
And like most of his teammates, not everything was firing on all cylinders, as expected.
The practice was an up-and-down showing for Murray, who went 9-for-19 (47.4%) and tossed an interception to cornerback Darqueze Dennard during 11-on-11s, while adding a 14-yard run. He also threw a pick to Malcolm Butler during 7-on-7s.
Communication issues hindered the first team as well, with confusion between Chase Edmonds and Murray and a false start leading to a stalled drive after a promising start from their own 25-yard line. The drive ended with an overthrown ball to tight end Maxx Williams in the end zone.
It didn’t help the quarterback was without both A.J. Green and Rondale Moore due to injuries. The two wide receivers are figured to be contributors to the team’s passing attack in 2021.
But Murray wasn’t the only talking point from Saturday’s action.
A look at who else stood out during the Red & White practice:
– Presumed backup quarterback Colt McCoy stole the show with his accuracy running with the second-team on Saturday, connecting on four of his first five passes to start 11-on-11s.
He also turned in one of the longest passes of the day, finding running back Eno Benjamin for 21 yards on the catch and run.
“I had not played in this system before, so I really worked hard this offseason,” McCoy said Tuesday. “The first part of it was on Zoom. I got to be out here for three weeks, just really watching Kyler play, listening to Kliff install and really just diving in to understand what I need to do to play here.”
– With Green and Moore sidelined, wide receivers Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson got extra work with both the first and second teams.
The duo was targeted often, combining for eight catches with Murray and McCoy throwing the ball.
Isabella also saw time as the team’s return man and as a gunner on special teams.
Andre Baccellia also made a few catches while running with the 1s and 2s, including two catches of at least 12 yards.
– The defense appeared ready for the task at hand, while the likes of J.J. Watt, Dennis Gardeck and Jordan Phillips work to get back to full strength for the season.
Dennard kicked things off with the interception of Murray early in the first series of 11-on-11s. Two plays later, linebacker Chandler Jones got in on the fun, “sacking” Murray.
Byron Murphy also came down with a pick, but it was negated due to a defensive penalty.
Of the new faces in the secondary, cornerback Marco Wilson continued to get some run with the first team, while the defensive line added steady pressure throughout.
Neither of the first or second teams scored touchdowns on Saturday.
– While the passing game worked to get back into form, the running game flashed potential, with offseason addition James Conner rattling off runs of seven and 26 yards on his lone carries.
– Kicker Matt Prater was a perfect 5-of-5 on Saturday, with his longest make coming from 42 yards out.