Finally, the preseason is over. And the regular season couldn't have come any sooner.
A couple of players left the game with injuries on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos. Tristan Okpalaugo and Kareem Martin, a pair of pass rushing linebackers, each left with knee injuries. Martin's, in particular, did not look good at all. Our best wishes go out to him on a speedy recovery, as he was having a phenomenal training camp.
Outside of those players, the Arizona Cardinals had some winners in this game that may have worked their way onto the roster. Let's take a look at some of those names.
Matt Barkley: Up until this game, Barkley looked awful, to be quite frank. Head coach Bruce Arians noted earlier in the preseason that Barkley needed to learn how to, "read a wristband", alluding to his lack of knowledge of the playbook. In the final game, however, Barkley looked right at home. After the first quarter that started with a strip sack on the 2nd possession, Barkley settled in nicely and put on a good performance.
He had multiple connections with the likes of Brittan Golden, Jaxon Shipley, Marquis Bundy and other players. Will Barkley make the roster? That is yet to be seen. But he certainly didn't hurt his case on Thursday night.
Robert Nkemdiche: Nkemdiche looked exactly like what Cardinals fans had been hoping for. Consistently getting pressure up the middle, Nkemdiche was disruptive all throughout the night and had a nice sack on Paxton Lynch in the 4th quarter. He was a winner. Not much more to say.
Lamar Louis: Louis continued his strong preseason play against the Broncos and has seriously put in a bid to make this roster. Louis is a contributor on special teams and will equate to a serviceable linebacker backing up Kevin Minter and Deone Bucannon.
Marquis Bundy: Bundy had a phenomenal night at wide receiver. He has good size, a great catch radius and room to grow as a receiver. Could he be the next Jaron Brown, making an impact as an undrafted wide receiver? Perhaps, and he may get a chance to continue blossoming on the practice squad.
For as many winners as there were, there were just as many losers.
Cariel Brooks: By far the most ugly play of the night came early on in the first quarter. Brooks missed a tackle on wide receiver Jordan Taylor, allowing Taylor to take it all the way to the house. All Brooks had to do was wrap up on a basic, routine play. That singular play alone certainly didn't help Brooks' chances of being the fourth cornerback on the roster.
Ifeanyi Momah: It's not that Momah had a terrible game. Sure, he could have hit on a couple of blocks better, propelling the run game, but overall he played okay. But is "okay" good enough to make an already jam packed roster as a 4th tight end? Maybe, maybe not.
Ed Stinson: Stinson looked overmatched at times throughout the game. He either was invisible or ended up getting blown out of lanes. Again, on a very deep defensive line, Stinson could struggle to make the roster.
Of course, there were more players that had both good and bad games. Which names popped out to you? Let us know in the comments below.