The Arizona Cardinals suffered through an outing they’d rather forget in a hurry, and in a way, they will. Not only is a Week 3 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings coming up (and we will finally see those remarkable icy-white uniforms take the playing field for the first time), but they will also be going through joint practice sessions.
I’m not a big fan of joint sessions, though I see their value. That is, as long as the players realize they’re practicing with another team to get better as opposed to trying to fight one another after every other play. It also gives the Cards an opportunity to redeem themselves a little earlier this week from their miscues this past Saturday.
What should they be working on? Here are three issues the Cards dramatically need to improve this week, both at practice and in the game.
What the Arizona Cardinals improve in Preseason Week 3
1 - Tackling
The Arizona Cardinals First Team defense came out and had a solid outing vs. the Chiefs, but the backups had nowhere near the same kind of result. The big plays began and they didn’t slow for the entire night, and one key reason came because the Cardinals were often caught utilizing poor tackling technique.
In some cases, namely the one member of the first group in any capacity who toiled through a horrific outing and could be on their last chance in Arizona, the Redbirds didn’t even look like they were even trying to tackle. For Week 3, we will likely see the Second and Third Teamers for most if not the entire game, so they have a chance at redemption before the cutdown to 53.
2 - Move the ball more effectively
Once again, we likely won’t see much of the starters here, and this section applies entirely to the Cards First Team offense, who barely moved the ball well under quarterback Colt McCoy. But if they get a series or two, then they need to make the most of it, especially McCoy, who has been uninspiring this preseason. The starters will also see plenty of time in those joint sessions.
We should see Clayton Tune once again get more extended reps. Tune is coming off of another solid, but unspectacular outing, but if he can improve his accuracy between Preseason Weeks 2 and 3, and if his pass catchers haul in catchable throws, then perhaps he makes a last-minute case to open Week 1 as the starter.
3 - Limiting big plays
We mentioned that the Arizona Cardinals lack of tackling led to Kansas City pulling off big plays last week. But the Cards also allowed way too many of them through the air before they even had a chance to tackle someone as Blaine Gabbert and Shane Buechele looked like All-Pro quarterbacks, completing a combined 17 out of 18 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
Even Chris Oladokun got in on the action, completing four for five with 63 yards and 12.6 yards per pass. Overall, the big plays crushed the Cardinals backups, and if they suffer through a repeat performance next week, expect more than a few new faces filling the roster for Week 1 when Monti Ossenfort scans the waiver wire.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com)