The weeks drag by quickly, but before that initial preseason game in which the Arizona Cardinals will take the field for the first time in seven months, time seems to slow. Ultimately on Friday, it will come to a standstill as the minutes start to feel like hours in the leadup to kickoff.
But that gives us plenty of time to speculate about what the Redbirds can do vs. the Denver Broncos this Friday night when kickoff finally rolls around. Below, we’re making three bold predictions on what you can expect from your Cardinals this Friday.
Bold as in, more than just a best-case scenario. We’re talking about rookies, one dynamic player who could be a dark horse to see substantial playing time, and another one who might put a position battle to sleep after just one game.
3 Bold predictions for the Arizona Cardinals in Preseason Week 1
1 - Rookies have an unforgettable night
Preseason Week 1 is the Arizona Cardinals rookie class’ first opportunity to showcase their talents and they will exceed wild expectations. Of course, we already talked about Clayton Tune excelling out the gate, but he won’t be the only one.
Kei’Trel Clark, Michael Wilson, and Paris Johnson have all enjoyed solid camps so far, and even Dante Stills has gotten a look. Johnson will face the biggest test, as he will likely be starting, while Clark, Wilson, and Stills will outperform lesser competition as they get extensive playing time.
Since BJ Ojulari is still in his “acclimation” period, he likely won’t play. Nor will Garrett Williams, who remains on the NFI. Overall, the active rookies should give us plenty to talk about postgame, and even the following morning.
2 - Noah Togiai continues to impress
Injuries haven’t decimated the Arizona Cardinals so far in camp this season, but it doesn’t mean some players haven’t been completely injury-free. Tight end is one position that has seen Trey McBride, Zach Ertz, and Geoff Swaim miss time, forcing Noah Togiai into action.
Fortunately for the Cardinals, Togiai has not just impressed; he looks like he belongs. That trend will continue on Friday night when he likely sees a few series against, at the absolute least, high-end role players, if not quite a few starters.
3 - Marlon Mack leaps toward the top of the depth chart
Marlon Mack has already given us more than decent returns despite being on the team for less than a week. He looked great during the Red and White Practice, and he’s already splitting Second Team reps with Keaontay Ingram.
On Friday, he will take yet another step, and basically end the battle for the RB2 spot after one preseason game. Mack has seen multiple successful seasons in the NFL, and vs. Denver, he will once again show that he has plenty left in the tank.
Update: Mack left practice on Tuesday with a leg injury, so his status for Week 1 is up in the air.