What We Learned About the Arizona Cardinals After the Raiders Game
I can't help but wonder what Ken Whisenhunt is thinking this morning. On the one hand, he has to be pleased with the way the defense responded after the first two less-than-stellar performances. He had to smile seeing running back Ryan Williams get back on the field after being injured last year in a preseason game against the Chargers.
On the flip side, though, he probably woke up with a sick feeling of uncertainty in his stomach. No, I'm not talking about how neither Kolb or Skelton took control of the quarterback controversy that looms large in the desert. But the injury to starting left tackle Levi Brown last night may be more serious than he wants to hear.
But there were a few things that did become clearer in the Cardinals quest to get to 53 players. Let's examine a few of them now.
Injury to Levi Brown Looks Bad
That picture here folks may be the only way you see Levi Brown in a Cardinals uniform: clean and unpadded.
NFL.com's Ian Rappaport reported from a source close to the situation that Brown has torn triceps, although he is going through an MRI this morning.
This would leave D.J. Young as a backup replacement for Brown. Yes, THE D.J. Young.
I haven't heard of him beyond practice squad duty he had for the Cardinals last year. This should make Kolb or Skelton a little nervous. Sure there are a few free agents that the Cardinals may need to look at—like Marcus McNeil—but even he has injury concerns.
In reality, the Cardinals and their fans may need to get to know the name D.J. Young.
Justin Bethel Has Made This Team
There are a few things I know in this life.
1. The Dream Team was better than this year's Olympic Team.
2. Teachers are underpaid in this country.
3. OJ did it.
4. Justin Bethel made this team as a special teams specialist.
Last night, Justin Bethel all but locked up a spot on the Cardinals roster with another blocked punt, his second in as many weeks. If that wasn't enough, he blocked an extra point giving him three blocks for the preseason.
Bethel is proving all the naysayers wrong that a kid from Presbyterian College can't make it in the NFL. FYI: Presbyterian College is in a small town in Clinton, South Carolina and their mascot is the Blue Hose.
Yeah, I doubted too. In this case, I'm glad to be proven wrong.
Kevin Kolb Got Punked
"He is skittish. He is scared back there," Kelly said. "Anytime anybody gets close to him he starts looking at the refs. As a defensive lineman you love a quarterback like that. He ain't even trying to look at the routes no more. He is paying attention to us and you ain't going to get nothing done like that."
I can see it now: "Skittish" T-shirts and coffee mugs being printed today. The sad thing is Kelly is right.
You look at Kolb in the pocket, and you can see exactly what Kelly sees. He's not looking down the field at his receivers. He's not looking at routes. He's looking at the defensive players trying to pound him. You can't play quarterback like that, and, at this rate he won't.
Some thought Kolb looked good last night on the first drive. I disagree. That drive was all about Ryan Williams. I thought the second and subsequent drives were more indicative of the real Kevin Kolb.
Inaccurate, skittish and uncomfortable.
In short, that boy's scared.
Patrick Peterson Is in Midseason Form
Just give him five yards.
We didn't see much playing time from Patrick Peterson last night, but he sure did set the tone for the first offensive drive for the Arizona Cardinals. His 46-yard return was just what the Cardinals needed to start what ended in a touchdown drive capped by Ryan Williams first NFL touchdown.
If you are a Cardinals fan, there should've been a slight tingle in your stomach when the punt team came in. You know the feeling. That one you got every time you saw Peterson get back there to return a punt in 2011.
If Peterson can make the magic happen and Justin Bethel continue his dominance, the special teams for the Cardinals could be one of the best in the league.
I can tell you another thing I know. Patrick Peterson isn't scared.
A Hidden Gem in the Backfield?
The Cardinals have been a little thin at running back the last two weeks.
Enter William Powell.
The running back from Kansas State has continued to impress scoring in the last two games for the Cardinals. Have you noticed that Powell has some explosion when he gets going?
I know Coach Whisenhunt has. So has Larry Fitzgerald.
Granted, his play has been mostly on backups, but you can't ignore there is some talent there.
Who Steps Up for the Defense?
Stewart Bradley can probably be tabbed the MVP of the defense...of the preseason.
That title means about as much as the MVP of my feet, but you cannot ignore the play of Bradley. He will be fighting Paris Lenon for the starting spot on the team, but with Lenon's injury, that may be Bradley's to lose.
Another surprise may be the play of Reggie Walker. Last night, he seemed to be in on every run play and had three tackles and a forced fumble.
We sort of had a mixed bag for cornerback Jamal Fleming. He did have two very questionable calls for penalties but played a good portion of the game. His play will have to improve if he plans to make a run at corner.