There is little doubt at this point who the best player is at this time from the Cardinals 2014 rookie class, and as much as many Cardinals fans hated the John Brown pick on May 9, 2014, they seem to be falling in love little by little with the undersized speedster from Pitt State.
Brown continued to be nearly uncoverable for anyone, and while the Texans secondary leaves MUCH to be desired, it was another step in the ongoing season long decision on the fate of Cardinals Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. If Brown can continue to play like he has since he stepped foot in the desert, then he'll give the Cardinals plenty of leverage when it comes time to ask Larry to take a pay cut, NOT A RESTRUCTURE, or find another team to finish out his career with. While many do not want to look at this point at this time, it is important to keep an eye on throughout the season.
Deone Bucannon was electric on the field in his first chance to show off his big time athleticism and downhill attacking mentality, but he was wildly inconsistent in his limited snaps.
Bucannon saw 25 snaps. He was used one time as a blitzer, he dropped into coverage on 13 of his plays and was in run support the other 11. It wasn't Bucannon's coverage, the much discussed topic of the rookie coming in, that was erratic. It was his play versus the run. On separate occasions we saw Bucannon make an absolutely stupendous read on a play and come downhill, but miss tackles because he was out of control. While it is a minor pick of a what was overall a very average game, those are the types of plays that will make Bucannon a force in the NFL, or an inconsistent hit man on the back end.
Troy Niklas was about what you expected in terms of an athletic specimen of a rookie with a bad hand still trying to get his feet at the tight end position. He was used extremely sparingly, only going into routes on seven of his 37 snaps, and not being looked at the entire time to catch a pass. He has some work to do in keeping his hands inside in run blocking, getting called for an extremely obvious hold on a good run play off the edge, but he looked solid, if unspectacular, throughout the night.
Logan Thomas... What can we say? We'll do a throw-by-throw breakdown in another article later.
Ed Stinson was exactly what I expected when his name was called in May -- a workmanlike performance that will not get him noticed by the casual fan, but will endear him to those that love to watch defensive linemen work. He also showed that he has some giddy up in him, as he showed the ability to create some pass rush, albeit against terrible competition, but that is what you want to see from a fifth rounder.
Then you have Walt Powell, the much maligned sixth round receiver, who just keeps making plays day in and day out as a receiver and a gunner in special teams. Powell had three receptions for 74 yards on four targets, and included a special teams tackle in his work on the evening. Powell is going to make this roster, whether it is exclusively as a gunner on specials, or working as the fourth, fifth or sixth receiver. He's going to make himself indispensable.
Of course, the one person left out was the Cardinals first third round pick and one of the highest rated picks among Cardinals fans at the time of the draft -- Kareem Martin. Martin is an athletic freak of nature who just has not learned how to put his unique physical abilities to work for himself on the field. Martin saw the field for a good amount of run plays (his weakness at this point in his career). He was moved around and sometimes moved himself out of plays. Martin has to learn to use his length and strength in order hold up in the run game, but for now, he'll likely just be used in pass rushing situations.
As for the undrafted free agents, Anthony Steen was the second best lineman I watched on Saturday evening after 2013 draftee Earl Watford. Steen's athleticism seems to be coming back, as he was effective moving on run plays, and showed a strong anchor in the run game.
One play in particular stuck out. As Steen was pulling from his right guard position on a power sweep, he was out in front, peeled off his route and pancaked a defender who was coming from the backside on the play, allowing for an eight-yard gain from Zach Bauman.
Chandler Catanzaro set himself up nicely in his first week of work as kicker in this competition. In that, Catanzaro showed his ability to get into and out of the end zone consistently on kickoffs, which will put him ahead of Feely in terms of kickoff ability. If he continues to put the ball through the uprights, then we may finally see a changing of the guard at kicker.
Who stood out for you and who would you like to see more from in Week 2?
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