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Pre-Season Game 1 Recap: Cards Win 19-16

Rookie LB Daryl Washington recovers a Steve Slaton fumble during the Cards' pre-season opener.

Week One Verdict: A Wash of Slight Success and Slight Failure

  • So the Cards are officially 1-0, not that it means anything.  The second and third team offense did all the scoring, but on a bright note the second and third team defense gave up 13 of the 16 points.  We didn’t learn all that much about the Cardinals as a team.  We did, however, learn quite a bit about a few individual rookies including John Skelton, Daryl Washington, and Stephen Williams.

The Offense: Confused and Sluggish

  • Matt Leinart didn’t look very good, but he didn’t look very bad.  His passes were conservative and he never truly attacked the Texans’ defense.  Although Leinart didn’t throw any picks, he fumbled an exchange with Hightower.  In conclusion, Leinart’s performance didn’t tell us all that much.  Whisenhunt summed it up by saying that it’s “hard to really judge Matt because we didn’t do a whole lot to help him.”
  • As a unit, the first team offense didn’t look good at all.  There were protection issues on the offensive line as Leinart was dropped twice.  Whisenhunt noted, “I was disappointed in the way we started.  Offensively, it was the same kind of thing like in last week’s Red and White practice. We made too many mistakes.”
  • Derek Anderson had a pretty bad game finishing 13/22 for 88 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs.  Although Anderson’s two picks deflected off rookie WR Andre Robert’s hands, the Texans dropped a third that would have given Anderson 3 INTs.
  • Of all the quarterbacks, rookie John Skelton had the best day: 5/6 for 84 yards wth 1 TD and 0 Ints, though it came against the Texans’ bottom of the barrel defense.
  • There’s nothing to report on the running game.  Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells (still sore from his rib injury) barely touched to ball. 

The Defense: Angry and Focused

  • The Cardinals’ first team defense looked pretty good, although they only played one series that ended by giving up a field goal to the Texans’ first team offense. 
  • Rookie ILB Daryl Washington had a great game as he recorded 13 tackles (9 solo) and recovered a fumble in his own endzone.  Washington was all over the field and looked very aggressive.  He showed that he has great speed on the field and made about as good a first impression as possible.

Injuries: Could Have Been a Lot Worse

  • Larry Fitzgerald has a sprained MCL, which was confirmed by an MRI.  This means that his pre-season is most likely over, but he should be ready for the start of the regular season.

  • Looking at the picture above, the injury could have been disastrous.  It’s worth noting that Steve Breaston also sprained his MCL during the pre-season last year and it took him a few regular season games to put everything together.  Whether that will happen to Fitzgerald remains to be seen, but I have a feeling that he’ll be ready to win some ball games when Week 1 is here.

Week 1 Goals: It’s a Mixed Bag

  • Keep everyone healthy – Fitzgerald sprains his MCL
  • Don’t let Matt Leinart get rattled – The starter fumbles while taking the offense nowhere.  He didn’t really get rattled, but it wasn’t a good start.
  • Evaluate Brandon Keith at RT – Gets blown up by DE Mario Williams (who, to be fair, is a beast) and gives up a sack.
  • Get a good look at Anderson and Skelton – Skelton shined while Anderson flopped.
  • Begin to establish 4th receiver – Rookie Andre Roberts continues to have problems with his hands, but rookie Stephen Williams continues to impress in one of the more unlikely yet feel good stories of the pre-season.

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