Earlier this week, we broke down a few positional battles to keep an eye on in the Cardinals first preseason game. Now that that is in the books, we breakdown how those battles fared, and who has come out on top.
Brandon Williams vs ?:
This battle was Williams to lose, and he did little to make that case. He was beat on a number of occasions, and made errors you would expect from a rookie. Williams played much of the game, and as it wore on, he began to right the wrongs that plagued him early in the game. On one instance, Amari Cooper had him beat with a double move causing Williams to play catch up. While the pass did wind up incomplete, Williams kept his eye on it, and the second time around made a play on the ball in Coopers hand.
Wiliams, has no competition here still. Alan Ball missed two tackles, and was beat by Michael Crabtree. I did not see him on the field after that. Justin Bethel is slated to return soon, so that could put some pressure on the rookie, but at this point, Williams appears to have a firm hand on the starting roll.
Battle for the Sixth Receiver:
This battle will continue. Chris Hubert and Jaxon Shipley both had rough nights. Both had a number of drops, and were mediocre on Special Teams. Marquis Bundy did throw his name into the ring however, making two nice catches for 23 yards. Jaxon Shipley did however have three grabs for 53 yards. While some blame can be placed on both Jake Coker and Matt Barkley, everyone dropped a number of passes any NFL Wide Receiver should make.
Barkley v Coker:
If anything, both players lost. Barkley was underwhelming, only completing eight of his 24 pass attempts. He made a number of Ryan Lindley-esque reads, and showed his footwork still needs a lot of help. As for Coker, he showed why he's simply a camp arm. Despite having a huge arm, he threw it short a number of times, and was inaccurate.
Bruce Arians said after the game, that both need to learn to read an arm band.
It's likely that neither of these men make the roster, but they have three more games to show they should.
Battle of the Punters:
Drew Butler was the starter for much of the game, but Garrett Swanson actually had more punts than Butler. Butler had a total of three punts, averaging 34.7 yards per punt, and sending one through the end zone. His longest punt was 50 yards.
Swanson on the other hand had four punts and averaged 38 yards a punt. He downed one inside the 20, and his longest was 51.
Both players were statistically similar, which could just mean that the team will go in the route of being comfortable in what they have with Butler. Unless Swanson boosts his average into the 40's, and Butler continues to sit in the 30's, the Cardinals will probably not worry about the punting job.
One battle I made a brief mention to last time was the Long Snappers. On Friday it appeared to be Kameron Canadays day to snap. He had a number of low snaps, which lead to a rushed punt from Butler but that was not my biggest knock against him.
On one return he showed no effort. He made his way downfield, but when the return man got past him, he simply jogged to chase. Luckily there was a holding call away from the ball, so it set the Raiders back a little.Other than that it appeared that he was in on every other play, and was among the first downfield.
Danny Dillon will get his turn on August 19th when the Cardinals travel to San Diego.
What battles did you keep an eye on? Discuss below! Football is Back!