Sunday, August 15, 2010
Quick thoughts on Cards' preseason opener
By Mike Sando
Five thoughts after the Arizona Cardinals opened their exhibition season with a 19-16 victory against the Houston Texans:
- The biggest question of the offseason for Arizona was whether Matt Leinart would look the part as a starting quarterback. Leinart completed 6-of-7 passes even though the first-team offense struggled. I'm most curious as to whether Leinart had a good reason for failing to show for league-mandated postgame interviews. Absent a good reason, Leinart appears unaccountable and even flighty. He is the one Arizona player fans, coaches, teammates and media are most interested in monitoring this summer. It's important for Leinart to show signs he's ready to lead the offense.
- Rookie linebacker Daryl Washington was, by all accounts, a standout performer for the Cardinals. Arizona needs him to play extensively this season. Looks like the Cardinals' personnel department has found another potential contributor outside the first round.
- Defensive end Calais Campbell was obviously projecting when he suggested right tackle Brandon Keith had Pro Bowl and even Hall of Fame potential. Keith had a tough time against Texans defensive end Mario Williams. That's OK. Williams is coming off an injury-affected season. He's probably hungry and looking to reestablish himself. Keith needs experience. One exhibition game isn't much to go on.
- Receiver Larry Fitzgerald's conditioning and athleticism seem to spare him from serious injuries even during awkward collisions. He returned after appearing to suffer a serious knee injury against the San Francisco 49ers last season. Fitzgerald insisted he was fine Saturday after another dangerous hit. As much as the Cardinals would like Leinart and Fitzgerald to get game experience together, protecting Fitzgerald sounds like a good idea at this point.
- The Cardinals' backups fared well enough for Arizona to post a comeback victory. That can be a sign of depth, but there's no sense in reading too much into these exhibitions. The team went 0-4 in the 2007 and 2009 preseasons and 2-2 in 2008. Arizona has played horribly in past exhibitions, only to fare well when the games count.
I didn't get to watch much of this game while covering the St. Louis Rams' opener against the Minnesota Vikings. If you saw it, what were your thoughts?