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Glendale, AZ — Wednesday morning marked the final full practice for the Arizona Cardinals before making their way to Cincinnati for Friday’s preseason debut against the Bengals. Similar to their first exhibition game, numerous starters for the Redbirds opted for a reserved approach during practice with their eye on Week 1 come September 11th.
Here are the highlights from the final open-to the public practice:
Who won the day: Offense
Despite third-string quarterback Trace McSorley logging all the reps with the first-team, the offense once again won the day. Franchise quarterback Kyler Murray continues to ramp up his conditioning following a week removed due to Covid, while backup Colt McCoy continues to rest his overused right throwing arm.
McSorley and fourth-stringer Jarrett Guarantano did a good job finding wide receivers Greg Dortch, Andy Isabella, and Victor Bolden Jr. throughout scrimmages and one-on-one drills. The trio made big plays and found open space in red zone sequences.
McSorley and Guarantano will see all the snaps at quarterback on Friday, while Kyler and McCoy are expected to have the night off. With a veteran-laden offense for Arizona, most of the starters will not see action according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Second-year defensive players Zaven Collins and Marco Wilson, as well as veteran Dennis Gardeck are set to see significant snaps Bengals.
Both Collins and Wilson have been challenged by their Cardinal coaches to crank up production entering their sophomore campaigns. Meanwhile, Gardeck is fighting for snaps of his own against fellow veteran pass rusher Devon Kennard.
Play of the day:
Another day, another big play made by a Cardinal wide receiver trying to crack this roster. The versatile rookie wide receiver Jontre Kirklin wowed the final training camp crowd as he laid out to haul in a pass in the end zone from Guarantano. The LSU-product beat tight coverage from the slot against linebacker Ezekiel Turner as he sold out to the grass inside the end zone.
Kirklin is an intriguing undrafted product, as he played three positions for the Tigers, (wideout, quarterback, and defensive back) dating back to his time in Baton Rouge . It’ll be interesting to see if the Cards tap into his versatility this preseason.
Trending up: Trace McSorley
The QB1 for the Arizona Cardinals preseason opener is getting a considerable opportunity early in training camp. Along with starting, McSorley has seen most of the first team reps in practice this week sans Murray and McCoy.
With a strong showing in the next calendar month, the former Penn State signal-caller could push the team to carry three quarterbacks this season. Third-string quarterbacks are typically inactive on game days, but McSorley could make his case on the regular season 53-man roster.
- Trey McBride was out a second straight practice with a sore back and is unlikely to play on Friday. Kingsbury hopes the rookie second-rounder can return when the Cardinals host the Baltimore Ravens on August 21st.
- Cornerback Marco Wilson practiced for consecutive days and will start on Friday in Cincinati.
- Kingsbury agreed with a reporter asking if things were “coming along” with veteran tight end Zach Ertz and his calf injury. Kingsbury said last week he is not concerned the injury would impact Ertz long-term.
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