Saturday night football pitted the Arizona Cardinals against the Kansas City Chiefs in a week 1 preseason match up. After watching the game, here are the top 5 positives and negatives that I'm taking away from the game.
1) Carson Palmer: Returned from injury, Palmer was 4/4 in his only action, leading the Cardinals down the field for a score. He was fluid, looking solid in the pocket. The throw to Andre Ellington where Palmer threaded the football between two defenders to put it right on 'The Juke's' hands was amazing.
2) The starting offensive line pass protection: These guys kept Carson clean, and continued to do so for Drew Stanton. Not only did they provide a solid pocket to work from, but they offered the QB plenty of time to move through their progressions.
3) Andre Ellington: Another wounded warrior from last year, 'The Juke' worked the first team offense with Palmer, getting touches in both the run and pass game. Ellington was central in the scoring drive, turning a great throw from Palmer into a 57 pitch and catch that moved the Cards down inside the 10 yard line. 'The Juke' finished the drive with a 2 yard touchdown run.
4) Tyrann Mathieu: The 'HoneyBadger' picked off Alex Smith tonight after the QB was pressured by Deone Bucanon. Mathieu is being touted as the defensive X-factor for new DC Bettcher, his play tonight just stamps more confirmation on that belief.
5) Rodney Gunter sack: Yes, it was off a failed assignment, but Rodney Gunter making Aaron Murray look like a crash test dummy with a safety sack was very rewarding to watch.
1) The 1st string offensive line run blocking: For as good as the 1st team offensive line looked blocking for Carson Palmer, their play in the running game was mediocre, if I'm being generous There was no push. Mike Iupati pulled at the goal line and then got lost in the shuffle. For the Cards to be contenders, they need to be believable as a running threat.
2) Non 1st string pass defense: Chase Daniel looked like the 2nd coming of Joe Montana. Daniel's went 17/21, 189 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yes, preseason, but I was looking for better individual performances.
3) Non 1st string rush defense: Yes, once again preseason, but still, I expected better performances. Overall the defense gave up over 100 rushing yards split against the Chief's backs.
4) Sacks, or the lack thereof: Pressure in abundance, but no sealing the deal. The Cards need to find the players that can get the the QB and bring him down.
5) Bad tackling: There needs to be a workshop on wrapping up. There were a number of plays where the ball carrier bounced off the defensive player, who administered the hit, but failed to wrap up. That's not how you win on defense.
What did you think of the game, is your positive/negative list different? Let us know below.