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Cardinals vs Cowboys Hall of Fame Game: Winners and Losers

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Who impressed and who faltered in the Cardinals opening preseason game?

NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame Game-Arizona Cardinals vs Dallas Cowboys Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL’s opening preseason game has come to an end. While fans around the country may not care about the outcome of the game, there is still always an air of excitement when games finally begin.

This game, in particular, was about as exciting as one could have expected. There were some exciting moments, primarily in the first half. But for the most part, once the second string players went to the bench, the game was simply not as fun.

The preseason is about helping your first team gel together as a unit. But once those guys go to the bench, it becomes a fight for a job. Who were some of those guys who helped their case? Which guys hurt their cause?

Winners:

Blaine Gabbert

Easily the biggest winner of the game. Gabbert started the game hitting eight of eight and two touchdown drives. He was crisp and very well aware of his pocket. He made one dangerous throw on his last snap of the game, but outside of that, the only other negative was his second quarter fumble. Gabbert knows he is not in line to become the Cardinals starter, but he knows he has a fair shot to supplant Drew Stanton as the backup quarterback. One thing to keep in mind, Gabbert should look like the best player on the field.

As mentioned by both Seth Cox and Jess Root on their podcast

TJ Logan

Logan showed his return ability twice in the game. One was a punt in which he gained a running start, bobbled, but eluded two Cowboys en route to a 10-yard return. The return was actually longer, but a block in the back by Marquise Bundy cost him even more yards.

The other was a kick return, in which he returned a kick eight yards deep in the end zone. He ran down the middle of the field, before bouncing it to the left and returning it to the 37-yard line.

Logan only saw a handful of reps as a running back, but was running hard and smart. He sustained a wrist injury in the loss, so we will wait and see just how severe it is.

Budda Baker

The Cardinals second round pick was THE best-looking player in the secondary all night. James Bettcher used him in a Tyrann Mathieu mold, playing him all over the field. He looked good in coverage, knocking down a pass and being in good position on countless others.

Baker struggled as a punt blocker, but his play as a defensive back was exciting to watch.

Honorable Mention:
Robert Nkemdiche

Well... I can honestly say he impressed me. I have been a stickler of Nkemdiche after we drafted him. But after he absolutely man handled the Cowboys second team offensive line, Nkemdiche has changed this mans opinion on him.

Losers:

Brandon Williams

Williams had a perfect opportunity to push Justin Bethel for the starting job. He had some good plays, including an interception that landed right into his hands in the end zone but had several duds. Williams was aggressive, which is a big upgrade from last season, but was put on his back foot on nearly every route that had a double move.

Williams still has a long way to go to become an NFL caliber corner.

Secondary as a whole

With none of the starters playing in this game, the secondary relied on a number of guys with next to no NFL experience. Early on, the secondary had no troubles. But as the game wore on, and the Cowboys found a groove, the entire secondary was lost. This will have to be a position that the front office has to target.

Trevor Knight

Obviously, everyone knew at best Knight would be a practice squad option. But after his work in the Hall of Fame game, that is unlikely to even be a thought in the back of Arians mind. At this point, having Knight on the roster is useless. Allow Stanton and Gabbert to get all the reps on Palmers off days.

(Dis)Honorable Mention:

Scooby Wright III

Scooby was having a very effective camp. He had gained the attention of his coaches for his aggressive play style. During the game, Wright was in on a number of tackles and was looking to hit someone. At times, he played a little too aggressively, leading to the back gaining a few extra yards.

Wright also struggled in the passing game. There were two plays where his lack of speed allowed a tight end or running back to get ahead of him and get a good chunk of yardage.

Anyone else we should bring into the light and commend for their actions? How about anyone else who has earned the Cardinals cone of shame? Let me know.

With the Hall of Fame game in the books, the Cardinals will head back to Glendale for another week of camp. Their next game will come on August 12th, when the Raiders will come to town. There we will get a series or two of our veterans before an entire game of Stanton, Gabbert, and the rest of the backups.

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