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Saturday, August 17, 2013
Three things revisited: Cowboys-Cardinals

By Mike Sando

Looking back on three things discussed here before the Arizona Cardinals' second exhibition game of the 2013 preseason, a 12-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at University of Phoenix Stadium:

1. Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders. Pregame comparisons between Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson and those two sporting legends could not be fulfilled all in one meaningless game, of course. The Cardinals did work Peterson into their offense as a regular receiver, not as a gimmick player or within a trick-play context. That is the expectation for Peterson this season. Peterson gained 6 yards on a backwards pass (officially a rushing attempt). The Cardinals' failure to produce in the red zone will give them something to focus on beyond whatever role Peterson might play as a receiver.

2. Rookie free safety. Third-round choice Tyrann Mathieu started at free safety and played three quarters without making the obvious impact plays the Cardinals expect him to provide as his career progresses. That doesn't mean much in the bigger picture. Mathieu is just getting started and it's tough to know whether a safety was correct in his assignments. We're left to watch for standout plays. Mathieu did lead the team in tackles with seven, no surprise given how deep into the game he played. Mathieu lost 3 yards on a punt return after making a questionable decision to return the ball.

3. The home crowd. This was Bruce Arians' University of Phoenix Stadium debut as the Cardinals' head coach. His team collected six turnovers and won, but as an offensive-minded head coach, Arians will want his offense to produce better results regardless of venue. The Cardinals are home Aug. 24 against the San Diego Chargers. That game will feature Arians' offense and a Chargers offense coordinated by Arians' predecessor in Arizona, Ken Whisenhunt. That game might be better for monitoring crowd reaction.