NFL Preseason: 5 Reasons for Arizona Cardinals Fans to Be Optimistic
The Arizona Cardinals have gone through a massive overhaul this offseason and there are plenty of questions surrounding the team. They are 1-2 in their first three preseason games, with a couple close loses to the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers.
New pieces like Kevin Kolb and Todd Heap are getting more and more comfortable with the team and the Cards are looking pretty good. The team has been hanging in there with some of the better teams in the league and fans should have optimism as to what they have seen so far.
Read on for five reasons why all Arizona Cardinal fans should be happy with their team so far.
Cardinals' First-Team Offense Has Beat Opponents' First-Team Offense
Arizona's first-team offense has outscored the first-team offenses of the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers by a count of 24-15 and have looked pretty good so far. Kevin Kolb and all the other newcomers have looked solid and they are showing there won't be any backdown from the Cards this season.
In limited action so far, Kolb has gone 21-of-38 for 353 yards and one touchdown, and he has looked much better as of late. The running game has looked good also, with Beanie Wells leading the way. Wells has 27 carries for 129 yards so far this preseason, with a couple explosive runs, and he finally looks healthy and ready to contribute in a big way.
Kevin Kolb Has Looked Good
The trade that brought Kevin Kolb to the desert has been one of the more criticized trades from this offseason, and management has stressed it feels Kolb is a very good player. So far in limited action, Kolb has looked like the quarterback the team could have used last year and certainly the one they need this year.
Just look at yesterday's game against the San Diego Chargers. In less than three quarters work, Kolb was 11-of-20 for 205 yards and one touchdown. The things that don't show up in the scoreboard were very important, too, whether it be a play where Kolb avoided a sack or when he made the quick check down instead of forcing a downfield pass.
Look for Kolb to play even better next week against the Denver Broncos.
Offensive Line Has Held Up Well
Kevin Kolb has been sacked a couple times, but overall the line has held up and Kolb has had enough time to make plays. The running game has also improved and Beanie Wells has shown he can play very well with solid blocking.
Against the Chargers, Wells had a couple good rushes and he looks like the player the Cardinals drafted in the first round. If the line can stay healthy, expect Kolb and Wells to have fairly big years and for the team to be much improved.
Patrick Peterson Is a Special Player
The team made Patrick Peterson the fifth overall draft choice in this year's NFL draft and many analysts thought he was the best player in draft. The Cards then traded away Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Kevin Kolb and Peterson was then pushed into a more pressing role.
Peterson started out the preseason as a second-string cornerback, but he has since been playing more with the first-team defense and he is starting to make plays. Last night against the San Diego Chargers, Peterson had his first interception return for a touchdown, and he did so against Philip Rivers, not some backup quarterback.
Look for many more incredible plays from Peterson in his career as a Cardinal and expect for him to be humble through it all.
Defense Is Pressuring the Quarterback
If quarterback and offensive line were the biggest issues going in to the preseason, then defensive pressure and pass rush were right behind in level of importance. Pressuring the quarterback was a huge issue last season and the team needed to improve dramatically in that area.
In the first two games of the preseason, the Cards had six sacks and were making life difficult for the opposing quarterbacks. With young up-and-comers like Daryl Washington and O'Brien Schofield and veterans Stewart Bradley, Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, the team is looking to get much better at pressuring the quarterback and it is off to a good start.