10 Positives From the Cardinals V Chargers Game
You really could not have asked for a better home opener.
Okay, maybe they could have won.
But it's the preseason. Screw winning (sorry Mr. Sheen...).
On that note, ask the Lions why the preseason doesn't matter.
Anyway, what I wanted to see from the Cardinals were some positive steps in the right direction, especially after all the personnel changes and little time in the offseason.
And I got exactly what I asked for.
Here are 10 things I took away optimistically from the "loss" in order of importance:
10. The Offensive Line Protection
Okay, not the best game ever, and particularly on that first drive in the second half, things broke down a little, with the line giving up two sacks.
And Kevin Kolb did receive some pressure. His first completion to Heap was under a lot of pressure.
But in all, you have to like the solid protection the line provided Kolb against a very good defense.
Now, if we could just find a way to not have Brandon Keith play tackle (he had two penalties on that drive alone)...
9. Daryl Washington
The dude was absolutely everywhere. It seemed like he was in on every tackle.
I had a good feeling when the Cardinals drafted him that he would be a very good inside linebacker with his size and speed combo.
I just didn't think it could happen as early as year two.
Now...about that other inside linebacker position...
8. David Carter
So was I.
I'll admit, when I saw he helped make a tackle for loss, I had moment where I forgot who he was.
Then I asked myself, "Why is he running with the first team?"
While I figured out the first part, the second part is still a bit of a mystery with Dan Williams ahead of him.
But hey, if Carter can share time with Williams and play like he did against San Diego, all the better for the Cardinals.
I could be wrong here, but it seems that already Carter is helping with the run defense. I'm going to go back and watch the game again to compare he and Williams though.
Either way, three tackles and a tackle for loss are solid stats from a guy no one had on their draft boards.
7. Lack of Penalties
Yes, the Cardinals had eight penalties, but unlike in previous games, it didn't feel like they ruined the flow of momentum.
Many of these penalties were from the backups as well.
In all, they had eight for 56 yards, which is pretty decent for a preseason game.
6. LaRod Stephens-Howling
Probably the biggest dissapointment from the game Saturday night was not seeing Alfonso Smith (I didn't hear about an injury or anything like that...).
In fact, William Powell played, and he just resigned after being let go (He did fairly well actually).
But, the real good news lies with the play of the diminutive LSH.
Granted, much of his work came against the backups, but still, he got a gaudy 6.7 yards per carry to go along with a touchdown reception.
On that note, we could see him frequently as a fifth wide receiver in certain sets, which should help offset, along with the tight end depth, the lack of a proven number two guy.
Either way, it is clear that the Hyphen is the backup.
5. The Run Defense
The most exciting part of the defense may have been the improvement of the run defense.
San Diego ran all over the Cards in their game last year.
This time around it was much different.
Granted, the Chargers passing game was clicking, but that should've opened up some holes, but the Cards stood their ground.
Stats wise, if you take away Ryan Matthews long 48 yard run against the second teamers, the Bolts had 20 carries for 69 yards.
Matthews had nine carries for 21 yards without that run, and Tolbert for the game had seven for 26.
If the Cardinals could even do close to this well in the regular season, it would be a huge sigh of relief for the defense.
4. Offensive Creativity
The offense by far had its best preseason game, which is saying something because if you look at the statistics, the Cardinals were having a pretty good preseason.
Anyway, a few examples of this were the audible the Kolb called on the Fitzgerald TD, the multiple formations that the Cards were running, and the motion that they used effectively to confuse the defense and allow the tight ends and receivers to match up.
But my favorite by far was the reverse to Roberts.
Maybe Arizona tipped their hand to early on this one, but I hope to see that play again.
3. Patrick Peterson
Before the game started, I was checking out some other games on my computer, and noticed that Von Miller had a sack already.
Darn it, I said. We could've used him.
Well, I'm glad Peterson proved me wrong.
It's gonna take some time, but man- Peterson looked good on that INT.
Granted, he made a defensive mistake by leaving his man, but if he gets a pic in the regular season, good luck catching him.
I'm sure you already knew, but the dude's quick.
Not only the interception, but Peterson was one shoe-string tackle away from breaking a punt return for a TD as well.
You know what? I'm glad we got Peterson, even though Miller would have fit a bigger need.
2. Beanie Wells
What a relief.
If Beanie could just stay healthy, he could have a bigger year than people think.
I'm still not sold just yet, but Saturday night's performance helped.
Granted, if you get him in the backfield, he still goes down to easy. And he's not a great between the tackles runner.
But if he can get outside and get himself going downhill, watch out for him and his stiff arm.
10 carries. 63 yards. And that was against the first team defense.
Please keep running hard Beanie- we need you.
1. Kevin Kolb to Larry Fitzgerald
80. Freaking. Yards.
May it be the first of many beautiful hookups.