There’s a lot of great things that came out of the Arizona Cardinals’ 27-3 preseason win over the Dallas Cowboys last night. It’s bound to happen when your team forces eight, yes eight turnovers.
But there were negatives as well. Who killed it and who got killed? Let’s take a look:
Stock Rising: DE Vontarrius Dora “the Explorer”
I missed it with all the turnovers but DE Vontarrius Dora had a big game as he fights for a starting spot. Three sacks.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) August 27, 2018
With Markus Golden out and unable to play or be cleared to practice, the DE spot across from Chandler Jones has needed a playmaker to step up.
They might have found one tonight in Vontarrius Dora, who seemed to match and battle against Cap Capi for sacks and quarterback pressures on plays, making it an entertaining match. Benson Mayowa might still be the starter for now, but if Dora keeps up his play, he’ll be cutting into it shortly.
Stock Down: OT D.J. Humphries and OT Andre Smith
Perhaps the easiest stock down of the night, Smith had penalties, let pass rushers get by him, did very little in the run game, and all but looked like he didn’t belong out there with the starting unit.
On the other side, Humphries had difficulty blocking a motivated Randy Gregory and gave up his first pressure and sack of the preseason. If he has a good season and can prove himself to be a suitable tackle, the Cardinals and Steve Keim will reward him. But if his pass protection struggles like tonight continue, they’ll have an opportunity to move on and find a better blindside protector for their future franchise quarterback in Josh Rosen moving forward.
For tonight, the stock was down for Humphries.
Stock Up: CB Patrick Peterson
You’d think we wouldn’t have to list this one, but if Peterson keeps making plays and getting picks on the ball like he did tonight, it’s going to be like watching Deion Sanders in his prime again with the crazy athleticism and ball skills that Peterson can make use of in Steve Wilks’ defense.
The “Best CB in the NFL” debate this season will be a fun one with Peterson headlining it again.
Stock Down: J.J. Nelson
Nelson’s trying to play himself onto a roster that lacks a true deep burner with speed at the position.
His problem is that in order to be a wide receiver, you have to catch the ball. He had two more drops tonight and seems to have turned into a one-trick pony who can catch it when he’s open deep but elsewhere, not that much. He might be running out of chances to stick onto the final 53 man roster.
Stock Up: RB T.J. Logan
With 3rd string running back D.J. Foster carted off with a potentially serious knee injury, it was up to T.J. Logan to carry the rock in the second half of the game.
And boy, did he make an impression.
Logan was electric at times, breaking a long 59-yard run and showing up all over the field with his breakaway speed:
SEE YA Third play of the second half and the offense finally gets a touchdown on this 59-yard run by TJ Logan. All Cards, 24-0. #12sports pic.twitter.com/y4zCvvRE52— Cam La Fontaine (@LaFontaineCam) August 27, 2018
While there’s a lot of value that Foster has, Logan proved that Arizona has excellent depth at the running back position. Honorable mention goes to Rudy Ford here as well for his excellent punt coverage that forced a Cardinals special teams recovery touchdown.
Stock Down: CB Brandon Williams
Williams was nowhere to be found on the field, and was in street clothes for the entirety of the game.
Perhaps he was injured, but even if so, his struggles in coverage and tackling the last few preseason games hasn’t gone unnoticed. Given that the Cardinals saw a number of players step up on special teams in this game, that being Williams’ biggest strength, it’s tough to see him continuing to get chances if he’s not going to be available to prove himself.
And you know what? I wouldn’t have even noticed he was gone if it hadn’t been pointed out.
If his injury isn’t serious enough where he can play in Thursday night’s final preseason game, it might be that his time on the roster has run out. Here’s hoping that he can make an impact and finally live up to the athletic talent he’s always possessed.
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