It’s never easy writing about a preseason game, especially one like Saturday night’s. The Cardinals won, and there was plenty to be happy with when it came to some young players. And there was plenty that raised an eyebrow with the starters – especially on offense.
Then again, you don’t want to overreact to a performance that didn’t include a game plan. It seemed to me the Kurt Warner offense slogged its way through the preseason last year and that team ended up winning 10 games plus a playoff game.
That’s not saying the Cards will do the same thing this year. But right now, you don’t know.
All that said, here are some of the things I took away from the win over the Texans:
– You really want to see the first-team offense show some chemistry. It just isn’t clicking. The offensive line, right now, isn’t creating enough pass protection it seems, and Matt Leinart needs to play better too. Even Tim Hightower I thought had a couple holes and didn’t gain as much as it looked like he would.
– It was disappointing Leinart didn’t speak to the media. He knows by now as the starting QB he not only will be talking but doing it in a press conference setting. He had to know he’d be a big topic tonight.
– Anderson was lucky he didn’t throw a third interception (it was dropped). It’s funny, he looks so confident in there. I liked his pocket presence. But the passes just don’t connect. Some of that was his accuracy, a couple of times, the receivers have to make the play. (Rookie Andre Roberts still is having a tough time hanging on to the ball; a couple of the passes would have been impressive catches but NFL receivers make those grabs. Then again, Roberts did make a nice catch on fourth-and-5 to keep the game-winning drive alive).
– John Skelton did look good, obviously, with a perfect passing rating and two touchdown drives. He played better tonight than he has looked in practice, quite frankly. But remember this: he was going against the back end of the Texans’ roster. Did he show his potential? Heck yes. Anyone calling for him right now to start over Leinart or Anderson, however, is just being silly and frankly loses all credibility just by suggesting such a thing.
– Greg Toler played well at cornerback. He may not be polished, but it seems clear he should end up as the other starting cornerback. I thought undrafted rookie cornerback Marshay Green showed up a little, especially on special teams.
– I don’t see how WR Stephen Williams did anything but continue to look very, very good. On the drive in which the Cards scored their next-to-last TD, it was all Williams. He caught a 20-yard pass and took a huge hit to the noggin, which sent his helmet flying – yet he held the ball (and the Cards got an extra 15 yards on the roughness penalty). “I was trying to bring some life back to the game and to the fans,” Williams said.
The very next play, Williams beat cornerback Fred Bennett and would have had a 38-yard TD if Skelton hadn’t underthrown him. Williams settled for a 32-yard pass interference call. When it was suggested Skelton underthrew it on purpose, Williams laughed, trying not to throw his teammate under a bus. “It was just a hard read,” Williams said. “It’s just something we have to work on in practice.”
– Finally, it’s hard not to get excited about Darryl Washington (grabbing a fumble recovery below). I still don’t think he’s starting by the beginning of the regular season, but he’ll be playing a big role. You can see Washington’s speed and his lack of tremendous size doesn’t seem to affect his aggressiveness. You could see why the Cards were considering drafting him in the first round. Long way to go, but it was a wonderful first impression.
OK, that’s enough. Bed time. There’s plenty more time to break stuff down this week.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Daryl Washington, Derek Anderson, Greg Toler, John Skelton, Marshay Green, Matt Leinart, Stephen Williams
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