CARDINALS CORNER

Cardinals notebook: Greg Dortch among Red & White practice standouts

Aug 6, 2022, 5:45 PM | Updated: Aug 7, 2022, 6:33 am

GLENDALE — Greg Dortch continues to torch this training camp.

After already stringing together a handful of solid camp days, the wide receiver once again made his presence known in front of a “sold out” Red & White practice on Saturday.

More times than not, Cardinals quarterbacks looked his way over the course of the scrimmage-oriented practice. They weren’t just short dump offs, either, with the wideout picking up chunks of yardage most of the time.

And even when the ball wasn’t coming his way, Dortch appeared to have the upperhand over his defender.

Dortch is just one of a handful of Cardinals wide receivers jostling for position in a crowded room.

But the wide receiver wasn’t the only one to stand out on Saturday.

A look at what else perked up the ears during the Cardinals’ Red & White practice:

Men of the people

Before the nitty-gritty of the Red & White practice got underway, running back James Conner took a page out of defensive lineman J.J. Watt’s handbook, getting a game of catch in with numerous fans.

Former Cardinals fullback, wedge buster, co-host of Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke and commentator Ron Wolfley also got in on the fun, taking a handful of selfies before getting a closer look at the defense.

But it was quarterback Kyler Murray who stole the show post-practice, signing autographs on both sides of the football field for over an hour after the last whistle blew.

The cheers speak for themselves.

Some pieces missing

A handful of notable Cardinals did not participate in Saturday’s festivities including; Murray (returning from COVID-19) and Colt McCoy, rookie tight end Trey McBride (rest/sore back), cornerback Marco Wilson (groin), linebacker Markus Golden (toe), wide receiver Antoine Wesley (groin/hip), Rodney Hudson (knee), Marquise Brown (ramp up from hamstring issue) and tight end Zach Ertz (calf).

A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins both got some work in, but did not take part in the 11-on-11 portion.

Their absences opened the doors for guys like Andy Isabella, who ran with the first team for most of the afternoon.

Next man up

With both Murray and McCoy spectating, Arizona turned to Jarrett Guarantano and Trace McSorley.

The pair had their ups and downs in their extended showings, each tossing an interception during 11-on-11 work. Byron Murphy reeled in a pick-6 off of McSorley out the slot, while Breon Borders got the better of Guarantano on the outside.

Guarantano, however did put together a strong series towards the end of practice, going 3-for-6 while driving from his own 15-yard line to the defense’s 20 before the drill came to an end.

“They’ve both handled themselves well,” Kingsbury said Friday after practice. “The operation, things like that. There’s always throws you’d like to have back but I’ve been impressed with how they’ve handled themselves.”

Patrolling the secondary

The cornerbacks room was once again without Wilson, who is nursing a groin issue.

That left the door open for Antonio Hamilton and Josh Jackson to get added reps on the outside with Murphy working out the slot.

Rookie Christian Matthew also saw a good share of reps over the course of the Red & White practice and was not relegated to the pass-interference mitts he and others on the defense have had to wear.

Starting OL ‘close to be set,’ backup spots not so much

Aside from Sean Harlow taking over starting center reps with Hudson missing from action, the Cardinals rolled out the majority of their projected starting line on Saturday in D.J. Humphries (LT), Justin Pugh (LG), Will Hernandez (RG) and Kelvin Beachum (RT).

Run game coordinator and OL coach Sean Kugler believes the starting line is “close to set.”

But the backend of the trenches? That’s a different story.

“Most of the battles are for backup spots and trying to be that seventh or eighth guy on game day and then making the active roster,” Kugler said.

“We got a lot of really good battles at those spots. I couldn’t tell you which one of those guys is going to stand out. It’s really going to depend on the preseason games, which I’m looking forward to.”

Among the names Kugler spoke highly of on Saturday included backup center Sean Harlow, tackles Josh Jones and Josh Miles and rookie Lecitus Smith, who made the move to center this offseason. Justin Murray, though dealing with an ankle issue, is another name Kugler praised.

“Josh Jones and Josh Miles, they’re both playing tackle. They’re both battling to become the swing tackle. … They’ll probably get most of the preseason work where they’re out there on an island by themselves so looking forward to seeing that.

“Lecitus never played center, so he’s making that transition. He has some days where everything clicks and then you’ll see a thing like a snap or a false start,” Kugler added. “He’s got a lot of things on his plate and his thinking about a lot of things but he’s very smart. He’s really an athletic player. … He has a lot of attributes that as a coach you love to have. … He’s doing an outstanding job.”

EXTRA POINT

– The Cardinals saw 18,000 fans in the stands on Saturday.

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Cardinals notebook: Greg Dortch among Red & White practice standouts