McManaman: Trace McSorley shows poise and other reactions to Cardinals' win over Bengals

Bob McManaman
Arizona Republic

Cardinals’ insider Bob McManaman offers some rapid-fire reaction following the Cardinals’ preseason-opening 36-23 win in Cincinnati against the Bengals:

McSorley shines

It’s important not to make too much out of what the third-string quarterback does in the first preseason game, especially when the Cardinals are likely only to keep two quarterbacks on the active roster in starter Kyler Murray and backup Colt McCoy.

Trace McSorley, however, showed a ton of poise and moxie in Arizona’s preseason debut, completing 12 of 22 passes for 163 yards and a nice touchdown pass to Andre Baccellia in addition to leading the Cardinals to a 23-9 lead during his first half work. He also put some of his scrambling abilities on display in rushing four times for 32 yards.

On a sad note, Baccellia, a dark horse to make the 53-man roster, suffered what appeared to be a right leg injury and could begin the season on injured reserve.

Aug 12, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Clay Johnston (44) tackles Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin (26) in the first half at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Isabella turns heads

He might have been feeling like the loneliest man in training camp, but former second-round draft pick Andy Isabella, the speedster wide receiver who was told by the organization to seek a trade and seemed to be in danger of being released weeks ago, didn’t disappoint.

Just as he has during almost each and every day of training camp, Isabella made more inspiring plays Friday night against the Bengals. In addition to drawing two pass-interference penalties, he caught four passes for 57 yards and just might have given coach Kliff Kingsbury and General Manager Steve Keim a little more ample reason to keep him around — just in case.

Not to be outdone, another little wideout, Greg Dortch, also kept opening eyes with his four receptions for 43 yards and a twitchy 55-yard punt return on special teams.

Missed PATs by Prater?

Look, it’s impossible to know without being there and asking everyone involved, but one has to wonder where the breakdown was on each of kicker Matt Prater’s two missed extra points. It turned out that the misses didn’t impact the game whatsoever, but it’s not what anyone could have expected when all three veteran specialists were working together.

Special teams coach and assistant head coach Jeff Rodgers just raved recently about how well punter/holder Andy Lee, long snapper Aaron Brewer and Prater have been so dependable, but those two misses are something that demand some questions and answers.

Don’t discount Dimukeje

It’s no secret that Markus Golden and Dennis Gardeck are the expected primary starters for the Cardinals as their primary pass rushers at outside linebacker. Second-year man Victor Dimukeje, a former sixth-round pick out of Duke, has been getting plenty of reps recently with the first-team defense.

Friday night, he didn’t disappoint, either. He had two sacks and could have had three or four the way he was chasing Cincinnati’s backup quarterbacks in the first half. So far, it would appear clear he has cemented himself a spot on the team’s final 53-man roster.

Aug 12, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Ward (29) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Paycor Stadium.

Running back mojo

Everyone seemed to be ready for former Arizona State standout Eno Benjamin to make a bold move and although he was OK on Friday night, it was Jonathan Ward who stole the show with two touchdown runs plowing through the line and really set the tone.

Their carries and yards were almost identical, but Ward found the end zone twice and that won’t be dismissed.

And then there’s this

If you’re looking for positives, the Cardinals didn’t have any turnovers and they were only called for two penalties (both in the second half).

Have an opinion on the Arizona Cardinals? Reach McManaman at bob.mcmanaman@arizonarepublic.com and follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac. Listen to him live on Fox Sports 910-AM every Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 on Calling All Sports with Roc and Manuch. 

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