Preseason football is little more than 90 guys fighting for a shot to make an NFL roster. No one is concerned how the backups and third stringers gel together. Peoples concerns lay in whether or not those guys are good enough to backup their favorite player.
As a fan, we sometimes expect too much out of certain players. We may like an undrafted player, but that person may be a dud, and it sucks when our team releases us. But sometimes we get lucky and find a player to root for during camp that surprises everyone.
When a game comes around, the fans hold some of the players to lofty expectations. Some hit, some fall short. This past weekend we saw a good dosage of the younger players all vying for their right to claim their spot on the 53 man roster. Who were some of those players that hit the expectations that the fans had set?
Right off the bat, we will address the punting job. Currently, Richie Leone and Matt Wile are vying for the right to enter the 2017 season as the Cardinals punter. Both players were neck and neck entering Saturday's game and had even been publically bashed by Arians. Both punters took note of the team bringing in a workout punter and showed up on Saturday.
Wile once again was the team's kickoff man, show casing his leg on all five kickoffs. All five were in the end zone, and two wound up being touchbacks. This is not what separated him from Leone, however.
Both guys only got one punt. Leone punted first. A 61-yard punt that only saw a net of 45. He had the leg but lacked the hang time on it. An impressive kick none the less. Wile would not be out done, and booted a 65-yard punt, with a net of 56 yards. This showcased both his leg and his ability to get some hang time on the football as well.
Bynes has only been with the team for nine days. He looked like he had been with the team for longer on Saturday. Bynes lead the team with six tackles, a half sack, and forced the teams only turnover of the night.
Bynes sits in a very competitive room right now. First rounder Haason Reddick, ageless wonder Karlos Dansby, Deone Bucannon, and the “Taz-Manian Devil” Scooby Wright all top the Depth Chart. Bynes showed speed, and coverage ability, as well as the willingness to toss his hat in the run game. If Bynes continues the preseason with performances like that, he could see some playing time during the season.
The often maligned backup. Cards fans have been looking for someone to bring down the backup quarterback for two seasons. Fans felt like Blaine Gabbert could potentially be that guy. After the hall of fame game, those beliefs were hardened.
But in the teams second game, Drew Stanton was the one who shined, leaving Gabbert to find away to impress with the third stringers. Gabbert looked okay in his performance and was out played by Stanton. Arians interestingly said Stanton is healthier this year than he was last year in camp but did not clarify.
Not necessarily a player who helped himself gain a starting job, but has done a lot to gain first team reps, and ultimately play in the starting rotation. He once again shined on Saturday by being a force on three consecutive run plays. Nkemdiche held the Raiders to no yardage on a 3rd and 4th down, with only a yard needed to gain a first.
I still hold my excitement, however. I have not been a huge fan of him since the Cardinals drafted him last season. His injury and subsequently poor rookie season only strengthened my belief he was a missed pick. A strong offseason, strong camp, and two strong preseason games have me eating my words so far though.
Golden continues to be one of those players that make it so dang hard to cut. A reliable performer on Special Teams, and a reliable number depth receiver, Golden is fighting for his job again this season. With Chad Williams, Larry Fitzgerald, John and Jaron Brown, and JJ Nelson all likely to make the roster, Golden has to convince Arians that it would be wiser to keep a sixth receiver than an extra lineman or fifth running back.
Golden has four catches for 79 yards and a touchdown two games into the preseason. He has shown the ability to get loose from his defenders and make a big catch down the field.
Is there anyone else? If you were making cuts based off week two, who made their case to stick around?