The Arizona Cardinals hosted the San Diego Chargers Saturday night, dropping their second preseason game by a score of 22 - 19. While week one showed a team with promise, this weeks game provided a Cards team that needs to shore up quite a few areas, and quickly.
Yes, the team is juggling injuries, having lost starting NT Corey Peters and newly signed OG Mike Iupati, following the mantra of next man up, but to be effective, the next man up needs to actually perform.
In saying all that about the game, was it all poor play? Not at all, but the good didn't outweigh the bad, and that doesn't lead to winning football games.
Offensively, the Cards managed to put points on the board. Carson Palmer wasn't perfect, but still managed to make plays, connecting with rookie J.J. Nelson for a beautiful bomb and John Brown for a touchdown. Throw in an excellent game from rookie RB David Johnson who looked good in his first NFL touches. After he started running North and South he showed good burst and capable hands, averaging over 5 yards a carry.
Even the backup players on offense showed well, with WR Jaron Brown continuing to throw his name in the mix, being aggressive in his playing time, going up in traffic and coming down with a great snag. QB Philip Sims is consistent and smart with the football, moving the team down for a score during his opportunity to lead the offense.
One other flash during the night came from rookie S Harold Jones-Quartey, who had a heads up play with the interception and return.
But for all the good, what doomed the Cards was when the starters finished their playing time. Drew Stanton didn't look great in his time, throwing a pick deep in Cards territory that led to a Cardinals score. Current third team QB Logan Thomas was uninspiring during his time manning the offense, managing to post a 0/4 record.
D.J. Humphries was schooled in his time at OT , allowing the defender to sack
As with last week, once the starters were swapped out on defense, the Cards struggled to stop the run. Combine that with the fact that QB Philip Rivers did not start, but the Chargers backup QBs were able to move the ball through the air efficiently enough to generate questions about the Cards pass rush and secondary coverage.
Plenty of lessons to be gleaned from tonight's game. Let's see how Coach Arians and the Cardinals work to correct these issues.
Until next week, stay safe and cool Birdgang.