The first-team offense for the Arizona Cardinals marched right down the field for a touchdown on its opening drive for a second preseason game in a row. The starting defense looked good again, surrendering only a field goal in about a quarter of play.
Some late-game offensive wackiness and poor defense kept us entertained throughout, but the Cardinals dropped to 1-1 in the warmup rounds after a 30-28 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings traded up to the bottom of Round 1 to select quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and he looked like their signal-caller of the future Saturday night against Arizona's third-string defense. Bridgewater finished 16-of-20 passing for 177 yards and two touchdowns for a 136.9 passer rating. He was sacked once, by nose tackle Justin Renfrow.
Cardinals' third-year quarterback Ryan Lindley looked as inaccurate as ever, further cementing his fate as the loser of his battle with rookie Logan Thomas for third quarterback. It's only a matter of time before head coach Bruce Arians calls Lindley in to his office and sits him down to have the talk players dread (bring that playbook, Ryan).
Lindley completed 8-of-15 passes for just 64 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions for a 64.3 passer rating—a far cry from Thomas' performance last week against the Houston Texans.
Speaking of positional battles, kicker Jay Feely had a poor night kicking off, and it may be just a matter of time before he gets the axe as well. Rather than having Feely attempt field goals, Arians instead chose to go for it on fourth down, relegating the veteran to kickoff duties.
Why would Arians do that? It's simple, really. He knows what he has in Feely, the field-goal kicker. He wanted to see what he had in Feely, the kickoff man. After all, Feely debuted a new approach to kickoffs Saturday night that had him backing up further than normal (which led to many poor kicks and one offside penalty).
In all, the Vikings game was a learning experience for many young players and a few not-so-young players. Some learned they may have put their names in the hat to make the 53-man roster out of camp, while others learned they may no longer have what it takes to play in the NFL.
Whichever the case, these players should be proud of themselves for making it this far. Most who dream of making it into the NFL never even come close.
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