The Cardinals coaches and players did an excellent job in translating 2 weeks of camp to the game against the Green Bay Packers Friday night.
I think its safe to say we are not going to jump the gun over what we saw last night but as Cardinals fans and seeing the inept offenses of the last 3 years this was a breathe of fresh air.
To see the offense move the ball all night was impressive, and actually convert on third downs was really surprising. The one key point to the game in my opinion,(though there were many), was the play of the offensive line on all 3 units.
I watched quarterback Carson Palmer stand in the middle of a perfect C formed pocket without having to step up or move outside, Palmer stood and made his throws in confidence while in the center of the pocket with no duress.
Left Tackle Levi Brown even did a good job at keeping pro bowl line backer Clay Mathews away from Palmer. The packers defense had no pressure because of the wall put up by Eric Winston, Paul Fanaika, Lyle Sendlein, Jonathan Cooper, Levi Brown and the running back Alphonso Smith all did a masterful job at keeping Palmer’s jersey pure white.
The only flaw in the offensive line was that they did an excellent job in pass protection, but not so good in opening running lanes for the running backs, although Stephan Taylor grind out his own yards by dropping his head and dragging would be tacklers with him, runs that were suppose to be 1 yard or less he was able to turn into 3 to 4 yards at times, finishing with 64 yards on 20 attemps.
The defense was dominate, even the pass that Green bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 50 yards to James Jones was completed only because of the brilliance of Rogers. Antoine Cason had good coverage but the pass was perfect, the tackle from Cason was impressive ,in fact if Cason does not get that tackle, Jones would have walked in to the end zone for six.
The Cards defense held the Packers offense to only 167 total yards at half and for only 56 total in the second half for a total of 223 for the full game. Caused 1 Interception ,1 fumble recovery, 3 sacks and several passes knocked out of receivers hands by Javier Arenas. A shutout in the first preseason game is not bad for a unit that has over 6 new starters and a new defensive coordinator.
Defensive back Patrick Peterson let it be known that throwing in his area will not be the wises thing to do, although Rogers tested him early and drew a holding penalty on him, but Peterson is old school and would rather grab and hold before he gives up a big play.
Speaking of holding and grabbing, rookie Tyrann Mathieu was all over the field doing what he has always done on a football field and that is cause havoc. Mathieu is tough as nails and reminds me of a small feisty dog that believes its bigger than it really is and bites like a big dog as well. This kid is the real deal, as a ball hawking football player its only a matter of time before he cracks the starting line up.
Mathieu actual caused a fumble on his first hit to the tight end of the packers, but the call on the field was incomplete pass, Mathieu is not afraid to light someone up that’s 30 to 40 lbs heavier than he is, he also got a tremendous sack of quarterback Graham Harrell off a corner blitz, his speed is really underrated, he finished his night with an impressive 23 yard punt return and a pest grabbing pass break up in the forth quarter, I believe this kind of player is a super star in the making.
Look for more story’s in the breakdown of the game and more on individual performances during the up coming week and hopefully this week of camp will yield more of what we saw in the first game, again very impressive.