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AZ 9 MN 7 Halftime Thoughts

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NFL: Preseason-Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Offense:

  • Good ball control with some timely 3rd down conversions.
  • Kyler Murray (14/21/137/84.8-QBR) mostly poised and on target—-beautiful fade pass to Damiere Byrd (2/51/25.5)—-excellent zip pass up right sideline into zone gray area to KeeSean Johnson (4/60/15.0). Missed Christian Kirk (2/5/2.5) by inches on possible fade route TD. Great throw an catch, but Kirk couldn’t get his feet down.
  • On the 2 batted balls, Murray knows he needs to move his feet and extra sidestep or two to create clear passing lane.
  • David Johnson, imo, is too deliberate and slow out of the gates for this offense. A quick RB would have had twice the number of yards Johnson did. Plus, ball security remains a concern with Johnson—-good thing refs ruled against his fumble.
  • Offensive line was very good in pass protection (0 sacks). Decent, not great, in run blocking.
  • Two holding penalties on right side with Sweezy and Gilbert.
  • Chase Edmonds looks like a better fit as K-Raid RB than Johnson as runner and blocker, although it would be good to have an even speedier RB on tap. Why not try T.J. Logan?
  • Receivers have to do a better job of coming back to the ball, particularly when the ball is on its way when Kyler throws on the run. They can’t sit and wait on it.
  • Charles Clay got his feet wet which is a good sign. Ricky Seals-Jones as well. And Maxx Williams had one target in the red zone that was a tad overthrown.
  • Brett Hundley got the 2nd team moving after mistake riddled 1st series.

Defense:

  • Basically gave up 2 big plays—-the missed deep post pass to Diggs where there was no FS help from Cardinals (this was not trumaine Brock’s fault, in fact, it was good that Brock was as close to Diggs as he was) and the long TD run by Dalvin Cook where DT Rodney Gunter should have broken down and squeezed down on Cook, plus Chandler Jones should have been there to clean up (not sure what he was doing) and again no FS help because for whatever reason Budda Baker bit on the run flow (and the run turned on a cutback in the opposite direction) too early and abandoned the deep middle.
  • FS is going to be a huge problem for Cardinals, Budda Baker is not suited for it. Team must go back to Swearinger. Jalen Thompson is looking good there on the 2nd team—-looks more natural and instinctive than Baker.
  • Great job in pass coverage helped by 2 sacks on Cousins by Michael Dogbe and a combined sack by hard charging Zach Allen and disruptive edge Pete Robertson.
  • Super blowup of a WR screen by Jordan Hicks. Would like to see better tackling between the tackles from Hicks, Gardeck and Walker between the tackles. Not seeing many stops either from Swearinger at SS.
  • Good pass deflections late by Byron Murphy, Dennis Gardeck and Michael Walker. The Cardinals looked athletic and fluid in coverage.

Special Teams:

  • Zane Gonzalez has been MVP worthy.
  • Andy Lee too—-although he needed hang time on the punt right before the half.
  • Pharoh Cooper looked tentative on 3 minimal punt returns. Would like to see what Byrd, Isabella, Kirk and Logan can do.

Summary:

Much improvement from last week and from all reports it appears the Cardinals had much improved practices during the week. To go on the road and dominate the time of possession and shut down Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ passing game is a positive step in the right direction.

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