The overriding theme for today’s preseason 12 to 7 win against the Dallas Cowboys for the Arizona Cardinals was missed opportunities and turnovers.
Offensively there were a lot of positives for the starting unit to get excited about. We saw chemistry developing between Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. As Palmer connected on a few good-looking passes to Fitz early on in the first half.
Andre Roberts also joined the party, as he had a solid afternoon as well. If the first two preseason games are any indication then perhaps we are also seeing some chemistry developing between the two as well, As they paired up for a few completions early on.
We also saw signs of what’s to come for Patrick Peterson on the offensive side of the ball. He looks to be a natural in the slot, similar to a Percy Harvin. He could be a difference maker for Arizona this year and should provide Carson Palmer and the offensive a huge weapon.
The running game also showed some promise, as Rashard Mendenhall had a solid outing with a very solid effort on the day. He was able to break away with some very good gains. He showed his speed and quickness, as well as his excellent one cut ability to quickly find the hole in Arians zone blocking scheme.
The starting offensive line did another adequate job keeping Palmer clean and giving him time to throw in the pocket. Other than one false start, left tackle Levi Brown did a nice job protecting Palmer’s blind side. We also were able to see the potential (talent) rookie first round pick (guard) Jonathan Cooper has.
Having said that, the Cardinals were unable to capitalize and complete drives all afternoon, which was a huge disappointment. We also saw moments in which Palmer and his receivers were not on the same page with one another. As there was one series Palmer and his receivers looked like they got a hold of the wrong play book.
Offensively they had some very good moments but could not maintain (complete) any type of drives. Perhaps we should give some credit to the Cowboy defense. However, I am pretty sure head coach Arians will not see it that way. Look for Arians and the offense to have a big week of red zone work.
Defensively, they had another solid outing. However, Tony Romo was able to move the ball with decent success early on and probably should have had more to show from it. But unfortunately for the Cowboys it was an afternoon marred with mistakes and turnovers. It seemed all afternoon when Romo and the Cowboys started gaining momentum offensively, they would turn the ball over.
However, we must give a lot of credit to the Cardinals defense and their ability to take advantage of opportunities. The Cardinal defense did a great job of getting their hand on the ball and causing a total of six turnovers.
The non (backups) starting players that flashed (stood out) for me today and helped their cause; were linebacker Kevin Minter and safety Tony Jefferson on defense and Kerry Taylor and Andre Ellington on offense.
Minter is truly showing why he was regarded as one of the best middle linebackers in the draft this year. He was all over the field and showed why Arians calls him a thumper.
Tony Jefferson probably was the biggest surprise-player of the game today with his standout performance. As he had two interceptions, one in which insured the Cardinals the win. Jefferson’s performance probably inked him on the 53 man roster or at least on the practice squad.
Finally, the (negative) takeaway from the game was marred by missed opportunities on the offensive side of the ball and the lack of red zone success. The good news, this was just the second game of the preseason. There is still time to correct the issues on the offensive side of the ball before the real season starts.
The Cardinal defense (the positive) took advantage and created six turnovers on the day. They had tremendous success at getting their hand on the ball and causing turnovers all afternoon.
We saw some standout performances with players such as Minter and Jefferson on the defensive side of the ball. On the other side the ball, we saw some promise from Mendenhall and the starting offensive line. Former ASU product wide receiver Kerry Taylor perhaps boosted his chances of staying on board in some capacity as well. Andre Ellington really flashed for me as well, showing his instincts and quickness to slip past would be tacklers.