When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Trust me, since joining Revenge, I’ve seen myself get a few wrong, and yet, I am always willing to admit it.
Today, folks, I’m ready to admit that I may have judged Kareem Martin too quickly.
No I know that Kareem isn’t blowing up plays in the backfield, and he’s not dominating from the point of attack. What he’s doing is playing with a strength that seems to be his strong suit. I saw him push the pocket a few times against the Raiders, and I was pleasantly surprised. Add in the sack in which he bull-rushed a second-string offensive tackle.
With all of the injuries going around, the best set skill that Kareem may possess is availability.
So far, Jarvis Jones, Karlos Dansby, Philip Wheeler, Josh Bynes, Alani Fua, Gabe Martin, and the few nicks for Markus Golden has created an opportunity for Kareem to succeed. Jarvis Jones was considered the third linebacker behind Golden and Chandler Jones, but his inability to stay healthy hurts.
Here’s 10 observations from the Oakland game:
- If I’m weighing competition this year, I’m almost certain that they are already settled through two preseason games. The number two corner job seems to be all Justin Bethel, in which I retort, finally. Finally he’s healthy. Finally he knows how to play corner. Evan Boehm also seems fully entrusted at right guard, and for good reason. He may not be the most talented, but he is very reliable.
2. I, like everyone, was very surprised how well Josh Bynes played at Oakland. I mean, he just played an unbelievable game. The hit that jarred the football loose on a short pass just seemed like perfect technique. Want to talk about someone who has made the most of his opportunities. I almost had this specific idea, if Karlos Dansby stays out for too long, could Bynes replace him?
3. Which brings me to my next observation: Scooby Wright seems like he is struggling with coverages, but that more has to do with foot speed. Don’t get me wrong, Scoob is going to make the roster, but it won’t be for inside linebacker. I have to give a kudos on the forced fumble on kickoff, that’s where he will make his money. Until he learns how to play coverage, at least.
4. The defensive line seemed very poised against Oakland, and you could almost sense that Robert Nkemdiche was just as dominant in quarter one as he was in quarter three (taken out after the first drive in the third quarter). Now, this was a game where Kelechi Osemele wasn’t playing. If KO was playing, how well would Nkemdiche do? I realistically can’t wait until week 3 against Zack Martin and Travis Frederick of the Cowboys.
5. While watching the game, I was blah about the receiving corps. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad, just seemed average. I was very happy to see Brittan Golden continuing his good camp. Could we see an increase in offensive snaps for Golden? I’ll tell you this, if John Brown doesn’t stay healthy, maybe Golden is that guy. Maybe not. Who knows?
6. With all that talk about how good Drew Stanton was (oh, he was fantastic), Blaine Gabbert put out another solid effort. BA was right, it’s going to realistically be whether the Cardinals want a guy like Alex Bazzie (5th linebacker), Ed Stinson (7th or 8th end), or Andre Ellington (4th running back). If Blaine Gabbert doesn’t make the initial 53, I think he’s shown enough that another team needing a 2nd or 3rd QB (Dallas or Jacksonville) could take a chance on him.
7. If I’m judging the punting competition (I’m not), I’d say that it’s close one. I think that BA and Amos Jones could have this punting situation go to week 3 of the preseason. As for the Raiders game, I think both did an adequate job. Right now, I’m leaning towards Richie Leone, as he seems to have more hang time on some of his punts.
8. The swing tackle job is very important, as that player needs to be able to play at a moment's notice. John Wetzel played for the injured D.J. Humphries, and he filled in admirably. Here’s the dilemma, Wetzel and Ulrick John are decent backups, but would you side with youth? The youth being Will Holden (5th rounder this year). You are not going to have 5 tackles on the roster, it just doesn’t happen this day and age. If I’m judging this situation, I love how competent Wetzel is. I would have to sacrifice Holden on the open market, as of this moment.
9. I would like to take a moment to congratulate Byron Leftwich for calling his first game. Preseason or not, he did a good enough job to put up two scoring drives in the first half. He seems to be on the fast track to becoming a coordinator next year, and maybe a head coach much sooner rather than later.
10. Despite all the hype going around this revamped youthful defense, I’m going to be the one to be a skeptic. I love the athleticism of Haason Reddick and Budda Baker, but when watching the game, I saw them a little bit out of position. Haason especially seems to be a step late when playing against the tight end or running back. Budda seems farther along than Haason. Don’t get me wrong, I think that these two players give the Cardinals some scheme diversity, but these last three weeks is very important for their development.