Cardinals’ Andy Isabella determined to get back on field after ‘tough’ stretch
Sep 1, 2021, 2:06 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2021, 1:08 pm
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
TEMPE — Of the three wide receivers the Arizona Cardinals selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, only second-round choice Andy Isabella remains following Tuesday’s cuts.
And after a slow start to his NFL career, Isabella’s spot on the initial 53-man roster was up for debate.
The offseason didn’t do him any favors.
Landing on the COVID-19 list twice over the course of training camp, 15 days in total, Isabella was left to sit at home while everyone else was competing for their respective jobs.
When he finally did make it out of COVID-19 protocols, another wrench was thrown into his plans in the form of Hurricane Ida.
After missing the first two preseason games, Isabella was poised for an extended look in the team’s finale against the New Orleans Saints.
But mid-flight, Arizona’s plane turned back around with the impeding hurricane approaching Louisiana. The Cardinals’ preseason came to an end and Isabella was left without any game tape.
“It sucks, the position I’m in,” Isabella said Wednesday. “I gotta really fight my way to get put on the field now. I was way behind, so it’s frustrating but I’m just doing what I can.”
Last season, Isabella recorded 224 yards and two touchdowns on 21 catches (35 targets). While the wide receiver set career marks in 2020, it still wasn’t the production many expected to see from Isabella in Year 2.
Luckily, Isabella’s ability to play multiple roles gave him a step up on his competition.
“His explosiveness, his speed, he can play inside and outside,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday. “Very conscientious player, can play special teams, can be in the return game, can be a gunner. There’s a lot of versatility there for kinda that slot that he’s in. Makes a lot of sense for us.”
Isabella will be the first to tell you he has underperformed relative to his draft position, which is why he attacked the offseason focused on taking that next step. It makes his absence during training camp that much more frustrating.
“Right now, I just got to work my way to get on the field, that’s my main concern,” Isabella said. “Can’t do much sitting on the sidelines.”
— Isabella on fellow 2019 draft pick KeeSean Johnson’s release: “It was tough. I think this is what he wanted. He’s betting on himself and if he gets the right opportunity, he’s gonna kill it wherever he’s at, so I’m excited for him.”