By Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports NFC West Writer
Finally, the 24-year-old sparkplug of a receiver seems to have discovered a house with the Arizona Cardinals.
That dating began closing offseason with a telephone name, when Dortch used to be nearly headed to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. The Cardinals introduced Dortch in for a exercise and signed him. He spent maximum of closing yr at the follow squad however were given a possibility to paintings with the starters this previous offseason on account of accidents at his place.
With DeAndre Hopkins out for the primary six weeks because of a PED violation and Rondale Moore (hamstring) and Antoine Wesley (groin/hip) injured, Dortch has been a part of Arizona’s common receiving rotation.
He has unquestionably taken merit. Through the primary two video games, Dortch leads the Cardinals in receptions (11) and receiving yards (118) and is tied for 5th within the NFL in yards after catch (98). In Arizona’s epic comeback victory on Sunday towards the Raiders in Las Vegas, Dortch had a team-high 29-yard reception and a five-yard catch for a landing.
The 5-foot-7, 175-pound receiver confirmed what he may just do all through preseason play, posting 14 catches for 164 yards and a landing. He additionally had six punt returns for 104 yards, together with an extended of 55 yards.
Dortch mentioned he has benefited from growing a dating with Cardinals receivers trainer Shawn Jefferson, the one trainer who labored him out when he declared for the NFL Draft 3 years in the past after his ultimate season at Wake Forest.
“I tried to break this kid, and he would just not quit,” Jefferson mentioned about Dortch’s non-public exercise. “Watching film on him, this guy was like 5-foot-nothing, but he was making plays all over the place. And that’s the thing that sticks out to me about him: He plays bigger than he actually is. And he has very sure hands.”
The New York Jets in the beginning signed Dortch in May 2019 after he went undrafted. He hung out at the Jets’ follow squad his first yr within the league, in conjunction with a while at the energetic roster and follow squad of the Carolina Panthers.
The following season, Dortch went to coaching camp with the Rams after being added to the crew’s follow squad past due his rookie yr, however he used to be launched all through ultimate roster cuts. Dortch signed with the Falcons‘ follow squad on the finish of the 2020 season. He used to be launched the next yr, ultimately touchdown with the Cardinals.
Now in Arizona he will get to paintings with the trainer who noticed one thing particular in him in faculty.
“It’s been great,” Dortch mentioned about operating with Shawn Jefferson. “He’s been like a father figure to me. He’s one of the guys that gets on you, but you know it’s for a good reason so you don’t take it personal. He’s also played the game, so it’s just easier to take it from him because he knows what he’s talking about. He’s lived it.
“When you’ve got guys that experience performed the sport, ran routes and feature been tackled and sweated, they only perceive the frame and what it takes to get to this stage. So after all, the consideration stage is going up and also you concentrate to guys like that. It’s essential to have guys for your training workforce like that.”
This Sunday, Dortch will see a former faculty teammate at the opposing sideline when the protecting Super Bowl champion Rams come to the city (4:25 p.m. ET on FOX). Rams backup quarterback John Wolford helped Dortch put up big numbers at Wake Forest. Dortch finished with 89 receptions for 1,078 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his final season with the Demon Deacons. Overall, he scored 19 touchdowns in 20 games played at Wake.
“He’s dynamic,” Wolford said. “He’s were given implausible fingers, nice frame keep an eye on and only a killer mentality. Couple that along with his elite characteristics, and that is the reason why he is proven what he is able to on the NFL stage.”
Dortch said the key for him this season has been gaining a more intimate knowledge of the playbook through studying and reps this offseason and developing a better rapport with quarterback Kyler Murray.
“It’s unquestionably rising,” Dortch said about his confidence. “Kyler got here out once I got here out in the similar draft elegance, so we will be able to relate in that space. It’s simply been a laugh making an attempt to be told the bits and bobs with the offense. Running with those and construction connections with the ones guys.
“With Kyler, I respect his game and he respects mine. I want him to know that every time he throws my way, I’m going to come down with it. I feel like every quarterback here knows that.”
Along with construction self belief enjoying with Murray, Dortch has constructed self belief in himself that he can play at this stage.
“During OTAs, I was just able to take more reps,” Dortch mentioned. “It was just me and Rondale out there. Last year it was Rondale, Christian Kirk and then me [in the slot], so I kind of had to watch in the shadows. Now, getting the actual reps, matching up and running the routes has just made me play a lot faster.
“It’s essential, simply construction a consider across the crew and the coaches and appearing the arena who Greg Dortch is and what I will be able to do. This is my 5th crew. I’ve bounced round somewhat bit. I have not actually gotten a possibility to turn what I will be able to do. So, simply so that you could display that, it felt excellent.”
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.
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