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The Setup
2nd preseason game. Both teams won their first preseason game. Tactics for each team described as "vanilla."

How would Kyler Murray adjust to a wider open Game #2 offense? Which rookies and unsung youngters would flash? How did the squad, as a whole, adjust to Kliff Kingsbury's offense? Would Vance Joseph take the wraps off his version of the 4-3 defense? Who'd play themselves onto or off the roster? And please! No frickin' injuries!. Late News - Alford unable to suit up (leg injury)

The Lede
Embarrassment in Glendale

The Bottom Line:
Don't let the closeness of the final score fool you. The Cards started slowly and went downhill from there. Matched up against the Raiders (& ambushed by a nit-picky officiating crew) it seemed at times that someone had pushed the Madden 20 reset button so as to make every Raider defensive player "Lawrence Taylor" anddowngrade every Cardinal player-rating to zero.

The Cards couldn't stop the run. They couldn't defend against the pass. Raidera built up a 17 - 0 1Q lead and expanded it to 26 - 10 by halftime. Kyler Murray regressed to Pop Warner mode and was plagued by snap-count and ball- protection problems. David Johnson looked like he was strolling through quicksand. When Cardinal tacklers weren't overrunning the play or flying through the wrong gaps, they were trailing wide open receivers. And during those rare times when the offense seem to have gotten something going, the officials would derail every 1H drive with still another nagging penalty.

The closeness of the final score makes clear that slow-starting teams can catch up if they hang in there. Scoring recap is as follows:

1Q Carr to Grant 13 yd TD pass Raiders 7 - Cards 0

1Q Carlson 25 yd FG Raiders 10 - Cards 0

1Q Glennon to Gafford 53 yd TD pass Raiders 17 - Cards 0

2Q Glennon to Carrier 2 yd TD Raiders 24 - Cards 0

2Q Safety (Murray sack minus 9-yds) Raiders 26 Cards 0

2Q Hundley to Sherfield 40 yd TD pass Raiders 26 Cards 7

2Q Gonzalez 22 yd FG Raiders 26 Cards 10

3Q Gonzalez 45 yd FG Raiders 26 Cards 13

4Q M Brown 3 yd TD run Raiders 33 Cards 13

4Q Kanoff to Isabella 59 yd TD pass Raiders 33 Cards 20

4Q Anderson to C Wilson 12 yd TD pass Raiders 33 Cards 26

Bright Spots
There actually were a few:

Isabella fulfilled expectations with his 59 yd TD catch of Kanoff's bomb down the left sideline.

D Johnson's nifty catch of the pass that was called back for a phantom offensive PI flag

Gonzalez was 2 for 2

Robertson made a few defensive plays

Sherfield (nice 40 yd TD grab) appears to be a top 3 receiving talent

Hundley looked better than expected. While he may not be the second coming of Johnny Unitas, he did demonstrate that he could run Kingsbury's offense and get the job done as often as not.

Low Lights
Just about everything else. (Unless the O-line and our defensive tackling improve markedly, we're in for a long season.

Note - Seems that the Raider DC factored in Vance Joseph's man-coverage scheme in the 4-3 and decided to test the matchups. Our guys evidently were overmatched and beaten like a drum by more talented Raider receivers. (Memo to Josephs: Either teach our DB's to cover tighter or make some adjustments to the defensive scheme.

Well, we learned one thing - that the Cardinals are capable of playing the worst football of any team in NFL history. (What we don't know is how good this team can be when it corrects all or most of the problems).


Last Word:
I'm not big on ditching a poor-performing team (the same way I'm not big on quitting on on my buddies who share the same fox hole. The Cards are what they are. We're stuck with them for better or worse. I wouldn't blame you for not subjecting yourself to the disappointment of rooting your guts out for a dysfunctional team who consistently lets you down, but I still am willing to hang onto the 1 - 2% hope that the O-line will learn how to block. the D-line will learn how to tackle, our D's will learn how to cover and our young QB will figure out what needs to be done when defenses have him squarely in their sights.

To put it differently - this ride won't be for the faint-hearted but I promise you it won't be boring.


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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012