Arizona Cardinals: 3 major takeaways from the Red and White Practice

The Arizona Cardinals preseason doesn’t kick off until August 11th, but fans got a taste of it on Saturday with the annual Red and White Practice.
Aug 5, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, United States; RB James Conner runs with the ball during the Arizona
Aug 5, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, United States; RB James Conner runs with the ball during the Arizona / Diannie Chavez / USA TODAY NETWORK

On Saturday, Arizona Cardinals training camp just got a lot more interesting with the Red and White Practice taking place. Of course, this was nothing more than a glorified practice, but it was still interesting to see what the Cards could do under more realistic “game-like” situations. 

Below, you will find a pair of good takeaways from the Red and White Practice, and one that will make you think Kliff Kingsbury is still leading this offense. So if you missed the event, check out this quick rundown to get an idea of where the Cardinals stand heading into the week before their first preseason game. 

Takeaways from the Arizona Cardinals Red and White Practice

1 - Kingsbury-era problems persist…for now, at least

Remember all those penalties from the old Kliff Kingsbury days? Yeah, they are still a problem for in-game situations, as the Cardinals offense was getting flagged every time you turned around, giving us a few flashbacks to the Kingsbury era when penalties seemed to wipe out every other decent play.

The good news is that we’re still over a month away from the home opener against the Washington Commanders, which gives head coach Jonathan Gannon and Company time to fix the issue. It’s also okay for players to have a bit of rust at this time of the year, so at this point, we don’t need to push the panic button. Now, if this persisted into Week 1, then we have a problem.

2 - Marlon Mack makes a dynamic first impression

The Arizona Cardinals signed running back Marlon Mack yesterday, and on Saturday, he got to make his first impression. Of course, Mack isn’t rolling with the First or Second Team yet, but he will earn the inevitable look if he keeps racking up big gains like he got today, even if it was technically a practice.

But really, who else is there to line up behind Conner? Corey Clement filled in as the RB2, but he’s long since removed from his best NFL season that took place in 2017 when he rushed for 321 yards. 

Keaontay Ingram has done nothing yet, Ty’Son Williams also hasn’t done much sans a successful cameo in 2021, and Emari Demercado is a rookie free agent. Look for the proven player in Mack to creep his way up the lineup until he is inevitably in a timeshare with Conner.

3 - Red zone efficiency

While the Cardinals may have struggled with penalties, they were efficient when in the red zone. Michael Wilson is already establishing himself as a big target inside the 20-yard line, and if he keeps making plays he could become the go-to receiver when the Cards are looking to score. 

Every season, you want to score in the red zone - I think we can agree that’s a given. But in a year like 2023, when we know the Cardinals have one of the lesser talented rosters on paper, red zone efficiency is a must. 

No, this game didn’t contain the same kind of action as next week’s preseason game will. But the way Arizona’s offense looked in red zone situations, it gives them something to build on. 


Source: New era notes: Red & White practice gives Cardinals 1st real dress rehearsal by Tyler Drake, Arizona Sports