The Arizona Cardinals are now down to their final preseason game in which they will face the Minnesota Vikings. Then, they got just over two weeks to prepare for their Week 1 opponent, the Washington Commanders, and work on any issue still plaguing them.
But before we start talking about what the Cards need to fix before they face Washington, there are still some big questions they should be answering in Minneapolis. The first one listed below applies directly to the entire week, while the subsequent two can be solved in a game setting.
Three major questions for the Arizona Cardinals this week
1 - Can the Cards keep their cool?
Let the joint practice sessions begin - and if you are looking for the ultimate double-edged sword in the preseason, this one is it. The upside regarding joint sessions is clear: They allow players to receive more reps against other teams, systems, and game plans, and the Cards should get plenty of them.
The downside, however, is that joint practice sessions get heated, and it’s not uncommon to see fights or even brawls occur. Only yesterday, the Eagles-Colts joint practice ended early because of a fight, and the decision to end the session was polarizing to say the least.
2 - Will anyone else on the Second and Third Team defense step up?
This section isn’t to say that the tackling and effort were universally poor among the Second and Third Team defenses last week, as players like Kyle Soelle and Jovante Moffatt were a pair of a few outliers. But the effort was poor enough all around that it wouldn’t surprise me if general manager Monti Ossenfort doesn’t scan the waiver wire with a critical eye when teams cut down.
A few players on the defensive side of the ball could save Ossenfort trouble if they step up and enjoy a solid campaign. And better yet, they will likely become members of the Arizona Cardinals 53-man roster without worrying about getting cut shortly thereafter.
3 - Who will win their respective position battles?
It may be Preseason Week 3, but there are position battles to be won all over the depth chart. These include a few for the starting roles. Positions like CB2, guard, WR2, and who ultimately starts along the defense line will be determined this week, whether that ultimately occurs in the game itself or during those joint sessions.
It will also serve as quarterback Clayton Tune’s final chance to show he can move the Cardinals offense better than Colt McCoy. Although Tune hasn’t looked incredibly sharp in the preseason, he has outplayed the presumed starter, despite their differences in sample size.