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Cardinals Find Answers in Oakland

On Wednesday, we previewed the Cardinals first preseason game with a couple questions to keep an eye on. The Raider win was a great first step, and the Cardinals answered a lot of our questions.

Firstly, Kevin Kolb played very well. He looked extremely comfortable as the starter, and was able to lead the offense up and down the field in limited action. If Beanie Wells had been able to get in the endzone on one of his four goal line attempts, Kolb would have orchestrated a pretty impressive scoring drive.

Of his four completions, Kolb completed two to Larry Fitzgerald, including an impressive over the shoulder catch in coverage down the sideline. Kolb to Fitzgerald, with their early chemistry, is going to be very entertaining as the season progresses.

We also saw something from Kolb not many people knew he had: his ability to run. He managed tomostly escape the Raiders’ pass rush (he was sacked once) while in the game and scrambled for 19 yards to keep the chains moving. His play wasn’t extraordinary, but for only having 5 days of practice and learning a new system, he performed well.

We all know that Larry Fitzgerald is the unquestioned starter at wide receiver. The question was, who was going to get a firm grasp on the second starter. I have not heard any more rumors of the front office possibly pursuing another free agent, so perhaps the team is high on the young players they have, and are willing to give them a chance.

The most notable receivers they have at the number two spot are Early Doucet and Andre Roberts. The coaches have spoken very highly of both, but the receiver that had the most impact, aside from Fitzgerald, was rookie Isiah Williams. Williams had just three receptions, but those receptions went for 50 yards and one score.

It was just the first preseason game, yes, but you can see the depth and talent in the Cards’ receiving corp. This question was left a little murky, but heading into the rest of the preseason schedule, we will keep a close watch on the battle for the secondary receiver spot.

On the defensive side of the ball, it is clear they are still learning the system. They had just two sacks, not a great sign for a high-pressure blitz oriented package. Coach Whisenhunt acknowledged that the defense still has along way to go after the game. “We had the opportunity to make some plays and we were not in the right spots,” he said.After just five practices, we should not have expected the defense to come out and play like  the ’85 Bears, but only allowing one touchdown is a very good start.

Defensive lineman Darnell Dockett was pleased with their performance,  saying, “we did pretty good, there are things we have to work on.” There is so much of the playbook new Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton has still not installed, but to get the basics down and  play must have been a relief for the team, especially after missing six months of quality practice time.

They will be tested on both sides of the ball against the depth and talent of the Green Bay Packers next week, but after  one game, they look to be on the right track.

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