After a very shaky game on several fronts against Oakland, and while it resulted in a loss, the Cardinals rebounded this week in their dress rehearsal for the regular season and allayed some of the concerns that had popped up.
Zane Gonzalez: The team’s leading and only scorer on the day, Zane again put in an automatic performance going 3 for 3 on field goals, including one from 47. I’ve probably jinxed it at this point, so uh, knock on wood?
KeeSean Johnson: The late round wideout finally popped off this preseason and showed why he was a camp darling, racking up 7 receptions for 85 yards. The competition for WR3 continues to be the highlight of the roster battles.
Zach Allen: It was a good day for the rookies. While the numbers may not quite reflect it, Allen was a proverbial bull in a china shop after a rough start to the day. With a lot of disappointment and uncertainty on the defensive line, it would be a huge win if Allen can step up.
Damiere Byrd: With two big catches on two targets for 51 yards and a 28 yard punt return, Byrd made a case for what will be an intriguing bubble battle at the back end of the WR depth chart.
Honorable Mentions: Joshua Miles continues to get run as the second team LT and looks solid again, as promising a situation as one could hope for with a 7th round pick. The defensive depth also showed today, in particular with Deionte Thompson, Dennis Gardeck, Miles Brown and Michael Dogbe all bringing some physicality and hustle to the defense in their limited work. Let’s hope its not too late for the latter three. Chris Jones also put in work today, and while it’s obviously early to start getting our hopes up, maybe the secondary can make due in the absence of their starting CB1 and 2.
Jordan Hicks: The big expense in free agency, 58 looked at times a little stiff and struggled with his angles and getting off blocks. Hopefully it’s just rust coming off, because AZ will need big things from him - especially with a questionable run defense.
First Team OL: Even with the return of Justin Pugh, the unit again continues to look rough. With very little push in the run game for David Johnson, and multiple instances of instant pressure in the passing game, the pressure is on for Kliff Kingsbury and Sean Kugler to make some chicken salad out of this front.
First Team Defense (Against the run): Yes, it was just one big run. But given how leaky this phase of the defense has looked in the previous two games, it’s tough to come away from this game with any new sense of optimism.
Honorable Mention(s): Obligatory “it’s just the preseason” - but Isabella’s production or lack thereof is sure to have disappointed a few fans just a bit. Yes, he was overthrown on a nice slot seam that would have been a big play, but he’ll have to work on awkward hands and being a little less dependent on body catching if he’s to make an impact early on in the regular season with what might be WR5 snaps.
Also, them refs man...