No one has ever asked a Super Bowl winning team what their pre-season record was, nor how they looked in a few series of games that mean nothing in the standings. But the high expectation Arizona Cardinals after their performance Sunday afternoon are currently 0-3 in the pre-season standings, leaving fans concerned if they will be ready for the regular season opener with the New England Patriots.
First quarter yielded mix reviews for quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer seems to not be as sharp with his ball placement to the short pass variety. On the teams first drive Palmer had a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted setting up the Texans first touchdown.
The start of the second quarter Palmer put no air under the ball to clear a defender on a screen pass and that pass was also tipped and picked, but this one returned for a touchdown.
Palmer is still confident that the team is on the right path and that’s probably something he would know before any of our eyes would. Fans can get in panic mode and forget that this team does practice together on a daily, so they see more than our eyes can see on a TV screen or even in live action as far as where the team is.
“I’m excited about where we are as a group and how in practice where we are, it may not have transferred to a few pre-season games but we see it every day in practice with each other and I’m excited getting ready for the season in two weeks”
said Palmer in an interview after the 31-24 loss to the Texans.
Before the Palmer turnovers, the first team moved the ball with a solid running game and a few chunk plays to the tight end. David Johnson looked as advertised rushing 6 carries 28 yards and a touchdown and the very reason there should be no panic from a 0-3 pre-season.
Palmer took a vicious hit to the head after the tipped pick-six and was immediately yanked from the game having chipped a tooth during the play as well. Coach Bruce Arians questioned Palmer’s ball placement before pulling him from the game, Palmer has to be healthy for this offense to have some chance to be dominant as they were last year.
It does not look good for the quarterback position should Palmer get hurt. Backup signal-caller Drew Stanton has not looked like he can handle the ship, as he has continued to overthrow receivers and miss read coverage. If there is one word to describe his play in the pre-season would be “confused” why? is the mystery, but he is always going to be coach Arians man that can do no wrong.
Getting Palmer out was smart. The main problem in Sunday’s game was at the cornerback position. Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu were held out as Peterson tweaked an ankle in pre-game warm-ups. Rookie Brandon Williams still has the upper hand in that position opposite Peterson, as he continues to make plays with techniques that say he will hold down the spot. Mike Jenkins went down with a knee injury and Justin Bethel just looked totally lost. Bethel was beaten for two deep plays one resulting in a touchdown, and the reason being that he just doesn’t look for the ball in coverage.
It wouldn’t be pre-season if there were not much to work on to get fine tuned for the regular season.
Cardinals have one week to go before it’s all for real and the way it looks, the first team should play a few plays next week in the final pre-season game. Although we know that most coaches will not take that chance and use that game to figure out final roster spots.