Cardinals Camp Notes – Preseason 1 & 2
Preseason is in full swing in the Red Zone, and with just two more exhibition games remaining before the season opener against the Detroit Lions, the training camp battles are entering their fiercest stages, and emotions are running high. There is no doubt that there is plenty of pre-conceived notions about where this football team will be in a few months, and the players feel it.
‘It creates a chip on the shoulders of our guys, they don’t like being written off before a meaningful down has been played. It has helped us in camp, nobody is guaranteed anything, and that’s how we’ve played and practiced. Different guys have been used in both our preseason games, and that shows the culture we’ve developed here so far.’ – President of Football Operations & Coach Mike Adelmann
There are a few things worth noting so far throughout camp and these two preseason contests (1-1), including major roster shakeups, some surprising cuts and potential moves, and the development of our rookie quarterback.
Two days ago, it was announced that the Arizona Cardinals completed 36 individual player transactions once the league year opened, an eye-popping number. 19 new players were brought into the locker room, while 17 others were released into free agency.
- QB’s (Chad Kelly)
- RB’s (Branden Oliver)
- WR’s (Riley McCarron)
- TE’s (Aaron Brewer)
- OL (Riley Reiff, Nico Siragusa)
- DL (Datone Jones, Ahtyba Rubin, Sylvester Williams, Derrick Shelby, Nick Perry)
- LBs (Edmond Robinson, Gerald Hodges, Matthew Thomas)
- DBs (Captain Munnerlyn, Dexter McDougle, Ibraheim Campbell, Dexter McDonald)
Those are all the new faces added to the Cardinals locker room (minus Aaron Brewer who failed a physical after his transaction was posted).
With position groups like defensive line and linebacker so wide open, more competition is a good thing – the front office sought athleticism and technique, and players such as Matthew Thomas (LB) and Edmond Robinson (LB) bring that to the table.
On the defensive line, Chandler Jones is the only name that is an absolute lock, with him starting at defensive end – after this, it’s a toss-up. I like Nick Perry to get some notable snaps this year, and Derrick Shelby accounted for two sacks in his first preseason game with Arizona. Add them into the mix with Brooks Reed, Andre Branch, and Terrell Suggs, and this is a decent rotation.
Outside of the front seven, there were some other additions – expect Chad Kelly to see some extensive work in Week 4 of the preseason, but we do not expect him to beat out Brett Hundley. Riley McCarron is intriguing as a return specialist, while Branden Oliver is challenging for the third RB spot. There is an absolute log jam at the cornerback spot, so watching these battles play out will be very interesting, to say the least.
Two Trades Shakeup Camp
Patrick Peterson and Jordan Hicks were both traded this week for four total draft picks (1,3,4,7), as the Cardinals shed over $19 million total cap per year, and acquired four picks. It will hurt the team now defensively, but this was a move that the front office believed in.
‘We see this roster in a different place next year, and to reach that goal we need assets. Trading Jordan and Patrick is not something you swallow easily, but it will benefit them to play in competitive environments, and allow us to look ahead.’
A Surprising Release
The release of projected starting tight end Charles Clay was a move most didn’t see coming – as Clay played with the ones in the first preseason game against Los Angeles, and then was completely held out of the second week against Oakland.
According to sources, due to his age, the Cardinals want to develop the tight end of the future, and allowing Charles to choose his destination in free agency benefitted both sides.
How Have the Games Gone?
Well the Cardinals are 1-1, with a bad showing Week 1 against the Chargers, and a complete 180 against the Raiders, in which they dominated all three units of the Raiders.
Week 1 Notes vs Chargers
- Kyler Murray played almost the entire game before exiting with an injury, he accounted for 177 total yards and 1 touchdown
- Hakeem Butler (rookie WR) stood out, with 5 receptions for 74 yards and 1 touchdown
- Chase Edmonds had the clear 2nd string RB snaps, with 13 total touches
- First team defense struggled against Tyrod Taylor, he completed 8 of 11 passes for 141 yards and a score, truly memorable was a 3rdand 19 the defense gave up, that eventually led to the aforementioned touchdown pass
- Dreadful performance from backup quarterback Brett Hundley that prompted the signing of Chad Kelly
Week 2 Notes vs Oakland
- Murray played the first half, accounting for 104 yards and 1 touchdown pass, the game plan was very conservative as opposed to the game versus LA
- Run game saw contributions from all levels, David Johnson averaged 5 yards per carry on just 6 touches. Edmonds once again led all in carries
- Hakeem Butler played with the 1’s and struggled, 1 catch for 9 yards
- Big games from rookie wide receivers Trent Sherfield (2 REC, 49 Yards, 1 TD) and KeeSean Johnson (4 REC, 42 Yards). Johnson was the favorite target of Hundley
- Matthew Thomas (LB) who was just signed accounted for 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery
- Recently signed defensive end Derrick Shelby accounted for 2 sacks
- First team defense held Derek Carr and the Raiders to 3 points
Two games remain, against Minnesota & Denver – expect one final roster wrap-up before the season opener against Detroit.