Cardinals rookie Trey McBride garnered bulk of TE reps Monday vs. 49ers

Nov 22, 2022, 5:38 PM | Updated: 5:43 pm

Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride reacts on the bench during the second half of an NFL footb...

Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride reacts on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals offense was dealt a massive blow when head coach Kliff Kingsbury announced this past week that starting tight end Zach Ertz would miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury suffered in Week 10.

The security blanket in the middle of the field that served as one of Arizona’s best pass-catching threats — pacing the team in touchdowns (four) and receptions (47) — was suddenly no longer in the offense.

And with Ertz on the shelf, that left rookie Trey McBride, Stephen Anderson and practice squad call-up Maxx Williams to pick up slack in the three-time Pro Bowler’s absence on Monday Night Football.

Of the three, it was McBride who saw the most playing time in the 38-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He lined up 23 times inline and saw 19 snaps from the slot.

Making his seventh start of the season, McBride played 54 offensive snaps (76% of available reps). It marked the second-most snaps of the rookie’s short career. The only other time he had at least 76% of the available snaps was in Week 10 when he took over at TE after Ertz went down in the first quarter. McBride saw 92% in the win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Despite the added time on the field, though, McBride left many wanting more from the 2022 second-round draft pick.

Catching all four of his targets for 14 yards, the rookie was largely a nonfactor in the receiving game.

Veterans Williams and Anderson didn’t provide much of a spark, either, with the former tallying one catch for seven yards and the latter seeing just one target come his way for zero receptions.

Williams saw the second-most snaps among Cardinals tight ends on Monday Night Football with 13 (18%) compared to Anderson’s 10 (14%).

A look at some of the other Cardinals snap counts that stand out from Week 11:

WR Greg Dortch: 66 offensive snaps (93%)

Let the torch cook!

With wideout Rondale Moore down with a groin injury right out the gates, Dortch stepped in mightily.

Seeing a career high in offensive snaps, the wide receiver reeled in nine of his 10 targets for 103 yards, a career best.

“The guy stepped up,” backup quarterback Colt McCoy told reporters on Monday. “Rondale had a big part of the plan. So, when he goes down first play of the game, that’s tough. But I thought Dortch did a nice job of stepping in.

“Greg Dortch is a great football player. I know (Kyler Murray) trusts him. I know I trust him. He brings a lot of juice to our football team. And I thought he did a really nice job stepping up.”

His performance shouldn’t come as much of a surprise after showing he could produce in place of the injured Moore to start the season. Over the course of the first three games of the season, Dortch recorded 20 catches for 198 yards and a score. He saw no less than 71% of available snaps during that span.

Since Moore’s return in Week 4, however, Dortch has had a hard time seeing the field.

Dortch’s status will be among the many to monitor this week for the Cardinals, with the wide receiver undergoing an MRI on a thumb injury on Tuesday, per head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

OL Rashaad Coward: 42 offensive snaps (59%)

Making his second consecutive start at left guard on Sunday, Coward has logged at least 42 snaps over the past two weeks.

Coward along with Cody Ford handled the bulk of the team’s left-guard duties in Week 11.

For Ford, the lineman has seen at least 20 offensive snaps over the past two weeks as a backup.

WR Robbie Anderosn: 33 offensive snaps (46%)

Is Anderson ever going to have an impact on this Cardinals offense?

Traded for in hopes of making up for the absence of Hollywood Brown more than a month ago, Anderson once again exited a matchup with zero catches or targets on the evening.

In the five games Anderson has been a Cardinal, he has just one catch on seven targets for negative four yards.

There is a clear disconnect between the wideout and the offense and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better with just six games left to play.

LB Myjai Sanders: Nine defensive snaps (16%)

Another one of those head-scratchers.

After turning in a strong effort last week, Sanders was relegated from at last 21 snaps in Weeks 9 and 10 to just nine on Monday night.

Recording just two tackles, Sanders was unable to get home with limited chances.

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Cardinals rookie Trey McBride garnered bulk of TE reps Monday vs. 49ers