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Pre-Season Game 2 Recap: Cards lose 24-10

Derek Anderson (foreground) and Matt Leinart (background) do some drills during practice.

Well, after two pre-season games we still don’t know who will be in the foreground and background at quarterback for the Cardinals.  Neither Matt Leinart nor Derek Anderson were very impressive last night against the Titans with a national T.V. audience looking on.

Leinart wasn’t only unimpressive, he appeared down right troubled.  The slated starter completed 4 of 6 passes for 28 yards, without moving the sticks once.  Leinart also missed badly on a deep pass to rookie Stephen Williams down the right side; Matt  severely under threw Williams, with his throw flailing off the receiver’s outside shoulder.  That didn’t stop Leinart from yelling at Williams for failing to look for the ball, but Matt has to put it much closer to even give the receiver a chance to make a play, especially with one-on-one coverage.  Leinart did only get 9 plays, but he clearly wasn’t getting the job done.

Anderson got his shot to run the first team offense against the Titans’ first team defense.  Business for the Cards picked up with Anderson calling the signals at first.  He hit Stephen Williams in stride for a long gain down the left side of the field.  Anderson, however, choked on the goal line.  He missed a wide open Steve Breaston in the endzone for an easy 6 points when he sailed the ball too high for Breaston to reel in.  Anderson followed up that miscue with another when he threw behind Stephen Williams on a quick in-slant in the endzone.  The Cardinals had to settle for a field goal.  Anderson finished 11/19 for 105 yards, 0 TDs, and 0 INTs.

Rookie quarterback Max Hall got his first taste of the NFL against the Titans.  The BYU product looked pretty sharp, displaying polished footwork and poise.  He did make a rookie mistake by throwing an ill-advised interception into double zone coverage after facing pressure from the Titan’s pass rush.  Despite that indiscretion, Hall moved great in the pocket and stepped up to throw a strike to wide receiver Ed Gant, which was dropped in the endzone.  Hall got his first TD throw, though, when he hooked up with Max Komar on the same drive.  Hall finished 7/15 for 101 yards with 1 TD, and 1 INT.

It’s probably Skelton’s turn to re-raise Hall because Hall definitely showed up when he was given his chance to show his potential.  It’s unclear, however, how much playing time either rookie quarterback will get because the Cardinals are embroiled in a quarterback controversy for the top spot, for which neither of these rookies are in contention.

On the defensive side of the ball, the first team looked solid enough for the second straight week.  A little hiccup came on the Titans’ third offensive possession when Tennessee drove down the field, with a touchdown coming off a Chris Johnson TD run.  Unfortunately, the secondary has some lingering issues.  Trumaine McBride was picked on all night by Vince Young in a variety of ways.  It’s time for Whisenhunt and the Cardinals to simply sink or swim with the much more talented Greg Toler.  In addition, Kerry Rhodes broke down on a long pass during the Titans’ scoring drive.  Even Adrian Wilson was beat in coverage by Titans’ tight end Bo Scaife.  In the end, however, the Cardinals first-team did only give up seven points to a reportedly explosive offense with the number one rusher in the NFL last year.

Individually, Calais Campbell and Joey Porter both looked pretty sharp.  Porter stuck his nose in there a few times and Campbell made a nice stop on 3-1 to force a Titans punt.  If Campbell starts playing the way I think he will, he should have a monster season this year.  Rookie LB Daryl Washington made a nice tackle for a loss, but he appears to have some trouble getting off blocks at times.

Well, there’s certainly plenty talk about this week regarding the Cardinals’ quarterback situation.  We’re heading into the third week of the pre-season and neither QB really seems to want to take control of this team.  Hopefully, someone steps up.  I still believe that will be Leinart, but his time is running out.

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