The Cardinals finally get to play a home game. And it’s the third game of the preseason, the one where starters play the most and — mostly — it’s the best way to judge a team. It’s still a preseason game, of course. No gameplanning, nothing set up. The Cards continue to test out new parts of the offense and defense. Still, quarterback Kevin Kolb knows the impact that this game can have. “The biggest thing, this is the one, when you look at the scores, this is the one where you measure everyone up,” Kolb said. “And we want to measure well.”
(I will admit, when Kolb said that the other day, I desperately wanted to say, “So you’re saying the third game of the preseason isn’t bu…?” Well, you know.)
— Halfway through the preseason, and with the end of the time in training camp, the Cards are getting more comfortable with new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s defense. But again, it’ll be a work in progress.
“We’ve got the grit of it,” safety Kerry Rhodes said. “We know what we are going to run, we can go and play a game. We’ve got the base stuff, and some of the exotic stuff. But we don’t have everything in. We’re just trying to do that, like a cram session. Cram for the test, and hopefully that first test against Carolina, we pass with flying colors.”
— Kolb talked about the “hiccups” in the offense. They probably won’t be ironed out just this week. It would be nice to see Kolb in control of the offense during a touchdown drive or two. He joked that he has been saving them for his first game at University of Phoenix Stadium, even “six or seven of them.” One or two would suffice against the Chargers.
— Curious to see, against a really good passing offense for a second straight week, how the cornerbacks hold up. Rookie Patrick Peterson got a taste of a high-profile receiver last week, getting beat by Greg Jennings for a touchdown. I’m also starting to think under-the-radar A.J. Jefferson is going to be a starter when the season begins, so this is another good test for him.
— Alfonso Smith wanted his shot. With Ryan Williams down, I’d think the Cards will be careful with Beanie Wells. And cuts are going to come quickly over the next week or so. As has been said many times, the Cards will look at all the running backs available after the league-wide cuts. There could be some intriguing names out there, especially after the final cuts following the fourth preseason game. In the meantime, Smith — who shows promise — will get his shot.
— So too will QB Rich Bartel. Story on him on the homepage right here.
— This is another big game for OLB O’Brien Schofield. He played so well last week, but coach Ken Whisenhunt wants consistency. He’s a chance to show that.
— I know it’s just a preseason game, but I am looking forward to this one. Going back to the Red-White practice, where 13,000 people showed up, there has been a resurgence in enthusiasm. Some is natural, with a new season. But injected with the new players arriving, headlined by Kolb, and the hope after the lockout finally ended, there is a new vibe with this team. We’ll see how it plays out in front of the home crowd.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Alfonso Smith, Beanie Wells, Chargers, Kerry Rhodes, Kevin Kolb, O'Brien Schofield, Patrick Peterson, Ray Horton, Rich Bartel
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