It’s time to go to Canton.
From the day it was announced back in February, the Cardinals have looked forward to this weekend. As usual, it seems both that training camp just started and that camp has been going on for weeks rather than less than two. But the games are here, as the Cards and Saints begin the NFL preseason schedule Sunday night at 8 p.m. in Ohio (5 p.m. in Arizona). It’s an extra game. That’s good and bad. One more chance for guys to get hurt, one more chance to spread around some playing time.
Watching the quarterbacks will be interesting but not definitive – I mean, I guess it could be definitive depending on what happens, but that’ll only happen with an injury – because I would like to see both Kevin Kolb and John Skelton in a game to see if it looks much different. They spent the offseason working on fundamentals, and with Kolb in particular, he’s had his time to prep that he didn’t get last year.
Another thing I want to see is just how much attention the NFL Network pays to the Cardinals. The Saints have had one mess of an offseason. Hopefully that’s not all the crew talks about.
– Coach Ken Whisenhunt will have to juggle his running backs. Beanie Wells is still on the PUP list. Whisenhunt officially said Ryan Williams won’t play, although that seemed likely all week with Williams taking a couple of days off from practice to rest his rehabbed right leg. Javarris James has his abductor strain, and William Powell got hurt in the night practice Wednesday – something in his leg, I believe, although I wasn’t able to find out exactly what – and I would think is unlikely to play. That leaves LaRod Stephens-Howling, Alfonso Smith and newcomer Thomas Clayton (who barely was able to practice.) Maybe the Sherminator will be unleashed.
– Speaking of not playing, I don’t expect safety Adrian Wilson to go with his calf injury. It’s minor, but again, five preseason games. The first means nothing. (Besides, how many series will the starters play? Two at the most? What would Wilson really be missing?)
– It’s time to break in the newcomers. Wide receiver Michael Floyd is obvious, and so is cornerback Jamell Fleming. But drafted offensive linemen Bobby Massie at right tackle and Senio Kelemete are important. Those guys are supposed to be on the roster and be able to play if there is an injury (and Massie, in theory, could still start). This is the first test. Massie has looked better as camp has gone on. I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched Kelemete much yet.
– There won’t be gameplanning, but I remember how Aaron Rodgers ripped up the defense in the preseason last year. That was early, early, early in the defense’s understanding of the scheme. Now they get Drew Brees (even if it might only be a series). Let’s see how the Cards handle a high-powered passing attack.
– Individually, the passing would play well toward the Cards’ cornerback battle, right?
– If you don’t get NFL Network, the game will be televised locally in Phoenix on Ch. 5 KPHO.
– I’ll be with the team Saturday night when they get a private tour of the Hall of Fame, and we will have a story sometime before the game. This should be a pretty cool trip.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Alfonso Smith, Beanie Wells, Bobby Massie, Hall of Fame game, Jamell Fleming, Javarris James, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Michael Floyd, Ryan Williams, Senio Kelemete, Thomas Clayton, William Powell
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