Live Blog: Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame Game
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The Hall of Fame Game is under way and I'll do my best to keep track of it here and on Twitter.
Feel free to comment and tweet.
8:18 pm Eastern
The New Orleans Saints marched the ball right down the field on the game's opening drive. The Arizona Cardinals got some good penetration from their defensive line, but their tackling on the opening series was terrible.
The Saints broke several tackles, including a couple key ones on third downs to keep the drive alive.
Following the touchdown run by Saints running back Mark Ingram, Arizona linebacker Paris Lenon limped off the field. Hopefully it's nothing too serious.
How many wins will the Cardinals have this year?
Good news and bad news for the Cardinals on their opening offensive series. LaRod Stephens-Howling, starting for the injured Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, broke a tackle in the backfield and darted for 15 yards. The disconcerting thing about that play is that Saints defensive end Will Smith got great penetration.
Cardinals fans are already unhappy and worried about the idea of Kolb at quarterback.
5 mins into preseason and AZ Cardinals are in midseason form: Can't tackle other team if they were old women with walkers+threw interception
— bmaz (@bmaz) August 6, 2012
The Cardinals defense continues to get excellent penetration and solidifies the idea that Arizona’s defensive line is probably the team’s strongest unit.
As far as the offense goes, Kolb is not off to a good start. This is a little harsh though.
With Kolb getting drug down in the end zone by Cedric Ellis, Kyle Gardner may get his wish. Insert John Skelton. One thing to point out is that, on the play, Kolb scrambled and actually completed a pass to Anthony Sherman. Arizona's offensive line is not playing well at all.
Dave Zastudil's two punts have gone 63 and 79 yards thanks to Saints miscues on the return attempt.
Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt giving John Skelton a fair chance. All the starters are still in the game for Skelton, who is in earlier than expected because Kolb left with a rib contusion.
Skelton looked great on a 14-play, 90-yard drive that ended in an Alfonso Smith touchdown run to tie the game. Skelton made the right reads, escaped pressure with his feet and completed passes on the run. Even before Kolb was hurt, he did not look very good. It is very, very early in the first preseason game, but this looks like it should be Skelton's job to lose, not Kolb's.
The trade for Kolb may go down as one of the worst ever.
Kevin Kolb. 2012 Season. 1 pass. 1 interception. Off to a great start. Worth every penny. #azcardinals— Matt Heistand (@TheThreeOneFive) August 6, 2012
Smith also looked good on the drive. He showed a burst of speed, ran well to the edge and broke a couple tackles. He got an excellent block from tight end Rob Housler on the touchdown run.
Of course, just when things start to look good, the Cardinals gave up a 67-yard kickoff return to rookie Laron Scott.
Stewart Bradley is taking advantage of his opportunity with Paris Lenon out. Bradley is having a heckuva game in covering and is tackling well. Good preseason start for the former Philadelphia Eagle, who was an All-Pro selection 2008 and is competing for a starting job at weakside linebacker.
Skelton's night is done after three series. He led a scoring drive and was 4-of-6 for 32 yards. That prompted this tweet, which made me laugh.
The Saints got on the board again when Arizona linebacker Reggie Walker got beat by Saints running back Travaris Cadet with 27 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Cardinals secondary did not look good at all on that drive, allowing Chase Daniel to pick them apart. Drew Brees played just one series for the Saints and Daniel finished the first half 12-of-16 for 156 yards and a touchdown. The Arizona defensive line stopped getting pressure on the New Orleans quarterbacks and the secondary struggled to stay with the Saints receivers.
That must tighten up throughout the preseason or it will be a long regular season. The purpose of the preseason is to expose some weaknesses and the Cardinals have had several on display so far.
I realize the Saints offense is really good, but this is the second string and the Cardinals defense has been shredded no matter who's playing offense for the Saints.
One guy I overlooked in the first half was Housler, who had one big catch and should have had another. Richard Bartel missed the wide-open Housler. Bartel, from Tarleton State in Texas, hasn't shown much so far.
He'll get another chance though because, as I was typing this, Blake Gideon got an end-zone interception for the Cardinals. Arizona ball coming out of the commercial break.
I loved Curtis Martin as a player and loved his induction speech yesterday even more. You have to appreciate that honesty.
The Cardinals have rookie, sixth-round pick Ryan Lindley in the game now. Lindley set all sorts of passing records at San Diego State and now has a chance to show what he can do in an NFL preseason game.
He's looked all right so far, finding Housler in the flat and LaRon Byrd over the middle. Lindley is making the right reads so far.
The MVP of the Cardinals, if you would pick one in a preseason game, has been Zastudil. Yeah, that's right, the punter.
Zastudil punting/kicking well. Seriously. Game of inches!— Andrea Hangst (@FBALL_Andrea) August 6, 2012
A perfectly thrown ball by Lindley is dropped by Jaymar Johnson. That ball has to be caught. It might have been a touchdown. Instead the Cardinals settle for a field goal following the drop as the ball went through his hands, and glanced off the bottom of his facemask and hit him in the chest. That's not how you make a team.
That's the end of the third quarter and the Saints still lead 17-10. The Cardinals have really been bad tackling tonight.
Lindley's got a really strong arm. That has been very evident. Now he just needs to relax. I'm sure he'll have the rocket arm a little more under control next week when the NFL "debut" adrenaline wears off.
I have no idea why the Cardinals cannot bring down Cadet, an undrafted rookie from Appalachian State.
One side note is that these replacement refs have been taking a long time to make sure they get the call right. So far they've done a pretty good job.
That interception by Larry Parker won't stand, but great effort. The rookie cornerbacks are playing well for the Cardinals. The linebackers, outside of Bradley, and safeties have not been having a good night. The Saints running backs and tight ends have 12 combined receptions for 140 yards.
Outside of Zastudil, both teams need a lot of work on special teams.
While the fourth-stringers are in, some have lost interest.
This game is so dull it just won the Republican nomination #HoFGame— Jarrett Carlen (@JarrettGC) August 6, 2012
That being said, this is a good opportunity for some of the younger players to make their mark against a different team in a live-action setting.
Quentin Groves trying to prove that he was worthy of a fourth-round draft choice in 2009. He's had himself a decent night, including a monster hit on a tackle for a loss.
The officiating is getting worse as it seems the crew is letting themselves get a bit psyched out as the game goes on and the coaches pressing to win the game. It may just be preseason, but nobody wants to lose.
Thomas Clayton, a running back signed last week, dropped a pass but is getting some carries in the fourth quarter.
Rookie safety Justin Bethel made a nice play by blocking a field goal to keep it a one-score game. He's got value in special teams, evident by plays like that, and can also play any position in the secondary. He's a talented kid from Presbyterian College and was a sixth-round pick.
Somebody please keep Mike Mayock from ever singing again in public.
What's most annoying by Mayock's singing is that it says he's no longer interested in what's going on in the game. If the guy paid to give analysis of the action on the field is paying more attention to the song blasting over the public address system, then why should the television audience care?
On the field, rookie safety Eddie Elder of Arizona State, has laid out a couple people in the fourth quarter. His latest hit, blowing up Saints receiver Andy Tanner, caused a fumble, which Elder recovered.
Elder's got himself off to a great start in the preseason.
On the ensuing possession, Lindley has made Byrd his favorite receiver, but got hit with a intentional grounding penalty.
Byrd has drawn the praise of all the Cardinals quarterbacks in camp and is getting pumped up by Mayock and Brad Nessler.
John Skelton's brother, tight end Steve, has looked pretty good, too.
Lindley was driving the Cardinals down for a game-tying score, but got picked off in the end zone while forcing a ball over the middle. New Orleans linebacker Lawrence Wilson returned the ball near midfield before stepping out of bounds with 1:42 remaining.
The turnover likely iced the game, but the Cardinals do have a timeout remaining with 1:33 on the clock.
The Saints win, 17-10, and both teams definitely have a lot to work on.
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