A.J. Green fails to record a snap in Arizona Cardinals’ TNF win over Saints
Oct 21, 2022, 6:16 PM
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals saw production from a number of players over the course of their 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
But there was one player missing from the stat sheet in wide receiver A.J. Green. Despite being available for the matchup, the wideout did not touch the field.
In his place out wide for the most part was Rondale Moore, with Greg Dortch taking on a bigger role than he’s seen of late in the slot. New Cardinals wide receiver Robbie Anderson also got a little bit of run on short notice after getting traded to desert this past Monday.
“We’re going to work through it,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday when asked about Green’s role moving forward. “With all these pieces now, it’s going to be a challenge for us to maximize who we have and see what we can get out of the personnel groupings that we have. We’ll spend the next 8-9 days going through it and see what we come up with.”
“For whatever reason, the ball hadn’t come his way as much as I’m sure he would like and sometimes that happens,” the head coach added. “But he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and he’ll continue to keep working.”
In five games played this season, Green has 10 catches on 22 targets for 56 yards. His snap count — or lack thereof — wasn’t the only one to stand out from Week 7.
Here’s a look at how reps were distributed against the Saints:
DeAndre Hopkins: 61 offensive snaps (92%)
Hopkins’ return was just what the doctor ordered for this Cardinals offense, with the wideout pacing all Cardinals pass catchers behind 10 catches and 103 yards.
He was far and away quarterback Kyler Murray’s go-to weapon, totaling 14 targets on the night.
Hopkins might not cure all of Arizona’s deficiencies on offense, but he certainly makes up for a lot of them.
Greg Dortch: 35 offensive snaps (53%)
I said Dortch was making this list every week until he saw more run.
After seeing just six offensive snaps combined in Weeks 5 and 6, the wide receiver saw just that.
And for that, he earns a spot back in this space.
He may not have been targeted more than once, but he made the most of the touch, reeling in a five-yard touchdown, Murray’s only score of the evening.
Robbie Anderson: 12 offensive snaps (18%)
Expectations were tempered in Anderson’s debut as a Cardinal.
Getting traded on Monday of a short week, the wide receiver saw a limited snap count. It was a way for him to get his feet wet in the offense, while also not setting him up for failure by rushing him into things.
As mentioned above, Anderson could very well command the outside looks over a guy like Green. Moore is also a candidate to continue working out wide.
Cody Ford: 53 offensive snaps (80%)
Another new(ish) Cardinal, another debut.
For the first time since the team acquired him via trade in late August, Ford was not only active, but a big part on helping keep the line together after starting guard Max Garcia went down with a shoulder injury.
“I thought he came in there and did a nice job,” Kingsbury said Friday. “And that’s without practicing literally for five weeks, no pads anything. Got in there and knew what to do. Was good to see him and Billy Price together, two guys who don’t have a lot of time on task in our offense, perform at a high level late in the game.”
Billy Price: 66 offensive snaps (100%)
Speaking of Price, the lineman filled in nicely for starter Rodney Hudson, who continues to deal with a knee issue.
Outside of a snap here or there, Price did what was needed of him after beating out Sean Harlow for the job this week.
Keaontay Ingram: 20 offensive snaps (30%)
His numbers might not jump off the page, but Ingram showed a ton in his second career NFL game.
Acting as the bruising back in the run game and a shifty receiver in the passing attack, the rookie proved he can be a problem for opposing defenses.
He scored his first career touchdown and nearly had another, while also putting defenders on skates with a couple of catches.
If Darrel Williams or James Conner can’t go next week, expect Ingram to see his fair share of snaps behind Eno Benjamin.
Eno Benjamin: 48 offensive snaps (73%)
Benjamin put up his best game as a pro on Thursday night as the team’s lead back, recording 92 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. He also caught four of five targets for 21 yards.
Conner may still be labeled as the team’s starting option, but Benjamin is making a serious case for himself to at the very least garner more touches upon his teammate’s return to action.
Antonio Hamilton: 35 defensive snaps (49%)
While he’s still getting eased back into things after his freak cooking accident that left him with severe burns, Hamilton proved on TNF why he wrestled away the starting job from Marco Wilson this past offseason.
Seeing as many snaps as he did over the last two weeks combined, Hamilton recorded his first career INT to go along with six tackles and two passes defensed.
Victor Dimukeje: 32 defensive snaps (44%)
Another stand-out in my book from Thursday night is Dimukeje.
Picking up the start this week, the linebacker was a key tackler on a number of runs that could have popped off for chunk plays.
For a second straight game, Dimukeje has seen 44% of available defensive snaps, both season highs.
It’s clear he’s gaining more of defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s trust and that maybe his impressive preseason wasn’t a fluke.
Cameron Thomas: 24 defensive snaps (33%)
Thomas saw a career high in snaps on Thursday. Before the victory over the Saints, the most snaps he played in a single game was nine.
Dennis Gardeck’s absence likely had a part in the uptick, but still a good sign for the young pass rusher.
Myjai Sanders: 16 defensive snaps (22%)
Sanders’ snap count doubled this week after seeing eight apiece over his first two career games.
The increased snaps and the release of veteran linebacker Devon Kennard last week shows Joseph is seeing improvement from his young guns.