A successful first step. That was the general theme coming from the Cards Thursday night after beating the Raiders. It’s hard to look at it any other way. I will say this, the game looked to me a lot like any other preseason game. In other words, it wasn’t overly sloppy, it didn’t reflect to the naked eye (or typical fan) the lost offseason or lack of practice time. We’ll see if that holds true once games start for real.
— Running back Beanie Wells said he could speak for the team when he called the performance “encouraging.” On being unable to get into the end zone with those four straight rushes, he admitted on one, “I knew I was going to get in, but I was too high. I thought it was a walk-in. If I had been lower, I would have gotten in.”
— Quarterback Kevin Kolb, on the playcalling on the failed TD drive: “Of course, we were trying to find out a little bit about ourselves. Some of the guys were tired, there is a lot of strategy that go into those four plays. We didn’t execute down there, but we learned a lot. We’ve have had some pretty intense goal line drills in practice and been pretty successful, so when we get back down there I think we’ll be pretty successful.”
Translated: That wasn’t what will happen in the regular season.
— Running back Ryan Williams looked explosive at times in his first work, but he played behind both Beanie and LaRod Stephens-Howling. I thought the Hyphen flashed on a few of his runs too.
— You could see the experience working for the second-unit offensive line, especially when they took on the Oakland backup defenders.
— The first-unit pass rush didn’t create a ton of pressure. It’s early but that’s something to keep an eye on. The defense did make a lot of third-down stops when it had too, though, with batted balls and some hurries.
— You can see why the coaches like cornerback A.J. Jefferson. I still don’t know if he holds off the competition to remain a starter, but it is hard not to see him ending up in the mix for playing time.
— The first-unit offensive line improved on Kevin Kolb’s second drive, and on a couple of his incompletions/scrambles, he had time just no one open.
— Rookie fullback Anthony Sherman, as both a blocker and special teamer, looks like he is going to be a good one.
— The Raiders’ captains screwed up on the coin toss, which is the reason the Cards got to receive the kickoff to open both halves. The Raiders won the toss, but instead of electing to defer, they said kickoff. They wanted the ball to start the second half, but language counts and it let the Cards get the first kickoff and then choose to take the second kickoff.
— Speaking of kickoffs, it was interesting to see so many kicked short as teams looked at their players on special teams. I think, with kickoffs moved up to the 35 this year, we will have more touchbacks than that.
— The outcome is meaningless and usually Whisenhunt doesn’t go out of his way to ensure a win in preseason, but his mood definitely reflects a win. It was also hard not to notice last night, after Janikowski belted the 57-yard field goal to take the lead, that the Cards were going to give some end-of-the-roster wideouts playing time – Sean Jeffcoat, Daiveun Curry-Chapman and Aaron Nichols – yet before the drive started, the Cards instead decided to give Max Hall better weapons in Isaiah Williams, Chansi Stuckey and DeMarco Sampson.
— On that point, however, the Cards did go with their end-of-the-depth chart rookies on the offensive line on that drive.
— Tight end Todd Heap was the only injury, and he looks like he’ll be fine long-term. That may be the best news of all.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Aaron Nichols, Anthony Sherman, Beanie Wells, Chansi Stuckey, Daiveun Curry-Chapman, DeMarco Sampson, Eaiders, Isaiah Williams, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Max Hall, Ryan Williams, Sean Jeffcoat, Todd Heap
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