For the past three years, Greg Dortch has been an intriguing part of the Arizona Cardinals roster. Despite his lack of size (5 foot 7,175 pounds), the wide receiver has flashed an uncanny ability to get open. Along the way, a large contingent of Cards fans have developed a soft spot for the former undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest University.
For the first 10 weeks of the current campaign, the Cards first-year coaching staff has shied away from utilizing Dortch in the team's far-from-spectacular passing game. Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, and rookie Michael Wilson have been the preference of offensive coordinator Drew Petzing. That trio hasn't exactly lit the world on fire, so the fact that Dortch has been shut out of Petzing's gameplans is somewhat perplexing.
Things changed last Sunday during Arizona's 21-16 loss to the Houston Texans. A back ailment kept Wilson from playing in the matchup, leaving the "next man up" a chance to perform. That happened to be Dortch and, as usual, the 25-year-old proceeded to take full advantage of his opportunity.
Dortch was targeted eight times during the clash with Houston, and managed to haul in six of the passes from Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Those catches added up to 76 yards, a total which averages out to a healthy 12.7 yards per reception. The solid performance by Dortch featured an electrifying, 31-yard catch-and-run in the final quarter that set the Redbirds up at the Texans' 39-yard line.
Greg Dortch has been inexplicably ignored by the Arizona Cardinals offensive coaches this season
Why it took an injury to one of the Cards' top three wideouts to get Dortch some playing time on offense is anybody's guess. Up until that point, the Virginia native had been used primarily on special teams. In fact, the 10.3 yards that Dortch is averaging on punt returns has been a welcome contribution to coordinator Jeff Rodgers' unit.
Last season, Dortch played a much more vital role for the Arizona scoring attack. The shifty receiver totaled 52 receptions, 467 receiving yards, and two touchdowns for the "Air Raid" scheme of former head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Many of the franchise's faithful believed that Dortch would build on his 2022 numbers, but Petzing apparently had other ideas.
Hopefully, last weekend's productive outing is a sign of better things to come for the underutilized wideout. It would be in the best interest of the Cardinals to supply Dortch with the playing time on offense that he so rightfully deserves.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)