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Friday, August 12, 2011
Three things revisited: Cardinals-Raiders

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Looking back upon the three things discussed here heading into the Arizona Cardinals' preseason opener Thursday night:

Kevin Kolb's protection: The Raiders got pressure on Kolb a few times, but the Cardinals' new quarterback generally handled the pressure well. He threw away the ball quickly when the Raiders blitzed Michael Huff early. He scrambled for a 15-yard gain to avoid pressure another time. He rolled right away from pressure when left tackle Levi Brown faltered in protection. Kolb had his pass batted and nearly intercepted on this play. I previously thought Kolb had taken a sack when scrambling up the middle. He gained four yards on the play. Overall, Kolb showed he could handle pressure instinctively. Let's face it, there wasn't much game-planning going on.

The running backs: Arizona backs carried 21 times for 90 yards overall. Beanie Wells punctuated a 15-yard run with a stiff-arm play recalling his efforts as a rookie. He ran hard for a 5-yard gain to the Oakland 3 on the next play. Wells, operating against the Raiders' second-team defense, then gained nothing on consecutive runs from the Oakland 1-yard line. Rookie Ryan Williams gained 11 yards on his first carry and 23 on a reception. Wells and Williams both lost the ball after being ruled down. Fumbles have been a problem for Arizona running backs, and it is one of the reasons the team drafted Williams and traded Tim Hightower. The Cardinals would not complain if their running backs held onto the ball after the play, just to be safe.

Young pass-rushers: Rookie Sam Acho showed up on the stat sheet for roughing the passer. Inside linebacker Stewart Bradley and outside linebacker Brandon Sharpe recorded the Cardinals' only sacks of the night. Oakland quarterbacks completed 23 of 36 passes for 248 yards, one touchdown and a 93.3 rating.