Cardinals vs. Raiders: 5 Things to Watch in Preseason Week 1 Matchup

Jack London@@Londonbridges21Correspondent IAugust 9, 2011

Cardinals vs. Raiders: 5 Things to Watch in Preseason Week 1 Matchup

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    Football is about ready to start. 

    Can you believe it?

    Not only that, but this is the first preseason in a while I've been really anticipating. 

    Not just because the threat of the lockout and all that. 

    But because the Cardinals have made so many changes, I'm interested in seeing the new product. 

    Thursday in Oakland, we'll find out. 

1. Kevin Kolb

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    I think everyone in the NFL will be interested to see what Kolb will do. 

    The Cardinals especially are interested—for the future of their team and because of the large investment they made. 

    But let's be honest. It's going to be ugly at first. 

    Kolb is still learning the offense. 

    At least he doesn't have to go up against Nnamdi Asomugha in his first game. 

    On a side note, over/under how many times he throws it at Larry Fitzgerald even when he's not open?

2. The Running Back Battle

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    Beanie Wells can't afford to get hurt this preseason. 

    Actually, he really needs to impress. Period. 

    I don't think if he falters he'll lose his job. 

    But I do think that Ryan Williams is closer than you think to a bigger share of the carries. 

    Once Williams learns the offense, he may take over. 

    Don't get me wrong, if Beanie plays like he did at the end of 2009, that would be awesome. 

    But I'm not sure he will. 

    And Williams? Well, as I heard it said in a recent article in the Arizona Republic, a Virginia Tech coach called Williams the best player he ever coached. 

    Oh yeah...I'll be very interested to see what Williams does against Oakland. 

3. The Pass Rush

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    If the Cardinals can find a way to sack Jason Campbell, I'll be extremely happy. 

    After last season, along with the lack of a pass rush, I'm anxious to see the Cardinals change that. 

    If you follow my line of thinking here...

    If the pass rush improves, the secondary, which is talented, should make more plays. 

    And they made some great plays last season. 

    In particular, I'll be watching to see how much time O'Brien Schofield (and Sam Acho to a lesser extent) gets. 

    Schofield seems confident and has the talent to get double digit sacks this season if given the opportunity. 

4. The Offensive Line

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    The depth chart came on Monday. 

    And starting at right guard was Rex Hadnot. Not Duece Lutui. 

    I'll be watching Hadnot to see if he can snatch the starting job from Lutui, who signed overweight again this year.

    I'll also be watching the effect that Daryn Colledge has, if any. He was a hidden talent while he was in Green Bay.  

    And I'll be watching the tackles, particularly Brandon Keith. I'm not excited that he's back as a starter (I'm okay with Levi Brown), and I hope he can improve his play this year. 

5. Adrian Wilson and the Secondary

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    Adrian may not play in the first preseason game, especially since he was just recently injured. 

    He said he plans to play the regular season, though, so he'll probably see some time in the preseason as a test. 

    It probably won't be this game, but I'm invested to see if he does, in fact, play. 

    I'll also be watching a cornerback. 

    Yes, I'll be watching Patrick Peterson, but I'm thinking of another corner. 

    A.J. Jefferson. 

    Jefferson, a second year player out of Fresno St. and a former receiver, is slated to start opposite Greg Toler. 

    The coaches seem to be high on him, and I'm interested to see why.