During the third preseason game you hope to see a glimpse of what the team will look like during the regular season. With several starters out it’s hard to get a true read but it does simulate what the season can be like. Sometimes guys are injured and aren’t there for you and so the guys on the bench have to step up. So with that in mind...
The Cardinals starting offense: I’m going to make my life easier and just wrap it all into one. The offensive line did well in pass protection and even better in the run game. DJ Humphries had himself a heck of a game. David Johnson is the future (and the run game looks solid as an entire unit), Jaron Brown has earned himself a roster spot, and Carson Palmer sucks in preseason. Two more crazy INTs that shouldn’t have happened but the amazing plays made by the defenders can’t be discounted.
Stopping the run: The Cardinals defense did give up a short TD run but overall did well in the run game. They kept Houston’s average below 3.0 YPC for at least the first half (sorry was unable to watch second half).
Tight ends: I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the position. Normally they block and on some teams they catch passes. I know it's hard to believe but it happens and we saw some proof of that tonight! It was a short stint but Darren Fells had two catches and 44 yards and Jermaine Gresham went Hulk on a few Houston defenders. Yay!
Andre Ellington: Against the second stringers he hit a few big runs and looked like the explosive back that we all fell in love with several seasons ago. If Ellington is back, holy fresh-made guacamole this Cardinals RB group is STACKED like my abs (when I use to work out in college).
Cornerbacks: They struggled tonight (okay, that's an understatement). Mike Jenkins is probably lost for the season. Justin Bethel got beat on a long passes twice. TWICE!! Turn your head man! Just try it out for once, you might like it...I almost put this group in the ugly section but considering they were facing the starting Houston offense the entire first half with mostly backups on the defensive side it tempered my disgust. This CB group overall is bad and very worrisome.
The lack of pass rush: Sure we got two sacks from the starting unit, but overall the number of pressures was limited and pressures lead to bad passes and interceptions. The lack of pressure allowed Brock Osweiler plenty of time to dissect a weak secondary. Ugh. We didn't see any real blitzing so there is hope.
Drew Stanton: This guy is frustrating. Carson can suck in the preseason because he delivers in the regular season but Stanton needs to shine against backups and right now he is as shiny as a fresh turd. He had some good throws and we have to credit the second string offensive line for giving Stanton time to actually find targets but he also attempted some throws that bottled the mind. In a bad way. So guys, who’s a good QB for next year?
Injuries: It was just one but seeing Jenkins go down was bad. Bad for him and bad for the team’s depth.
Special Teams: New user (are you new?) Sandbird said it best "Will we ever return is past the 25?" Something has to change. Maybe it’s not the returners but the coach because at this point I’m not sure who to blame. The long return? The bad punt returns? The inability return a kickoff past the 20? Ugh.
Carson Palmer throwing INTs on screens: Okay so first we have to credit the amazing plays made by defenders these last few games. HOWEVER on the other hand we have to ask what the heck Palmer was thinking on yesterday’s INT TD.
Sure the Cardinals didn’t dominate (okay, the backups got dominated) but have the Cardinals ever dominated in preseason in the Arians era? It was great to see the run game look good and to see the offensive line do well against a stout Houston front seven. I for one am glad the dress rehearsal is almost over with. Again I was unable to watch much of the second half of the game so please fill me and others in on what you thought was the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.