Somberness reigns as we head into week two of the preseason, and now more than ever the mantra "Just stay healthy," rings true. There are some intriguing players, matchups and scenarios to watch unfold over the next three weeks before the regular season starts, but for Arizona Cardinals fans, more than anything, just get to September 13 without any more major issues.
Six things to watch in the Cardinals vs Chargers game:
One quarter to develop some chemistry:
While the offensive line was considered a strength on paper before a snap was taken, they have already lost 40 ppercent of their starters and we haven't even emerged from August. That means Ted Larsen and Bradley Sowell step into the starting lineup with young guns Earl Watford and DJ Humphries hot on their heels.
The Cardinals are planning on getting their starters a quarter of work and Chris Johnson a handful of carries. That means it is time to start ramping up development of that offensive line chemistry that is so important.
While I said last week not to read too much into the offensive lines run game struggles, well that was when we assumed the best players would be playing.
Now you already are on two second string starters and they could be playing for three to five weeks, meaning you have to start over with your offensive line cohesion somewhere during the season. Expedite the process, pick up the running game and oh by the way, do not let anyone touch Carson Palmer.
Finish the pass rush:
Jess and I spoke about it quite a bit on the ROTB Podcast, but Kareem Martin and Markus Golden both flashed some pass rushing potential, and while pressures are all the rage, in this division, pressure doesn't always get the job done. Against a team working in some new offensive linemen, take advantage and finish some plays rushing the passer.
Welcome to "The Show" Rodney Gunter:
While I believed the learning curve for Gunter would be slow and plodding, and rightfully so, he has been thrust into the starting lineup. That means, the Cardinals want more from their nose tackle than what Xavier Williams and Alameda Ta'Amu can provide. Gunter getting the nod means the athleticism and potential he possesses will need to be unleashed early and often, can he handle a formidable (?) interior Chargers offensive line. It will be a fun first test for the rookie.
Does anyone want to be the fourth corner:
While there were many positives and we saw a lot of, "well the Chiefs did all their scoring against guys that won't be on the Cardinals roster in Game 1." We need to remember Peterson, Powers and Bethel are the top three, but from there it becomes a giant question. While Tyrann Mathieu can not only handle but excel as a corner, it is a misuse of his talents to have him at one position. Jimmy Legree looked lost, and the Chargers boast a better passing attack, so if any of these guys get time against the Chargers one's, it'll be a good test.
Speaking of good passing games:
Week 1 of the preseason was about as perfect as could be for the Cardinals top line in the passing game, and now they get to do it for a little longer. Can they continue to ride the wave? What happens when they go three and out quick, can they recover and get back on track quickly? These are all things we hope to see in week two of the preseason and not week one of the regular season.
Logan Thomas, growing or his one good moment a year:
We talked about Thomas extensively on the podcast, and he was excellent. The question becomes, can he do it two weeks in a row? He looked like he took several steps in the off season in the reading of defenses and throw receivers and to spots instead of one off reads and firing the ball out, but he still has a lot to work on. As strong as his arm is -- it might be the strongest in the game -- he needs to understand how to change speeds and work short throws with some touch, not just with his Howitzer.
What are you watching on Saturday night?