Arizona Cardinals tight end can win the starting job outright following Ertz injury

The Arizona Cardinals received bad news on Tuesday when Zach Ertz landed himself on injured reserve, but it will open the doors for Trey McBride.
Oct 22, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) carries the
Oct 22, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) carries the / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride put up a serviceable second half of his rookie season when veteran Zach Ertz went down with a torn ACL roughly 12 months ago. However, we knew Ertz would return for 2023, and at least serve in a timeshare alongside McBride. 

The vet actually saw much more playing time than the second-year pro, but now that he has another leg injury, the Cardinals shelved the 32-year-old for at least the foreseeable future. This again opens the door for McBride, who has been overall the Redbirds most consistent pass-catcher at tight end, despite having not seen much playing time. 

So far in 2023, McBride has only 15 receptions, but he also boasts a 71.4 catch percentage, not bad considering how poorly Joshua Dobbs has played over the past three weeks. He also possesses a receiving success rate of 57.1 percent, and the sophomore tight end is averaging 11.3 yards per reception. 

Arizona Cardinals tight end can shine from here on out

Across nearly a season-and-a-half, quarterbacks have enjoyed throwing to McBride, as they logged a 100.9 passer rating when targeting him last season and so far in 2023, that number sits at 95.3. Unlike last year, he has also had much more playing time, seeing the field on 44 percent of all offensive snaps, or 203 total. 

Barring injury, look for McBride to see an upward trajectory for perhaps the final 11 weeks and 10 games of 2023. We know Ertz is probably finished as a Cardinal, and he could be one of several veterans released after the 2023 season ends. Therefore, even if Ertz is designated to return to play this season, it’s McBride’s job to lose. 

He played good football when thrust into the starting role last year, so now that he has 23 games under his belt, McBride could be in a position to shine, especially when the Arizona Cardinals see Kyler Murray make his return in the not-so-distant future. So keep an eye on Number 85 - he’s going to be a fun player to watch. 


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)