The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in their preseason opener 24-17. As always in the preseason there was some positives but also some negatives. Here are some takeaways from game number one.
Steve Wilks Has An Identity And It Was Evident
New head coach Steve Wilks wants to be a physical football team and play fast and it showed right from the start. The defense forced a three-and-out on the Chargers opening drive and proceeded to run the ball right down the throats of the Chargers defense for a score. David Johnson looked fresh after missing last season with a wrist injury. It was a brief appearance for Johnson but Chase Edmonds, a rookie out of Fordham, capped the opening drive with a spectacular touchdown at the goal line. The Cardinals ran the ball eight of the nine plays on the drive. Establishing the line of scrimmage will benefit Sam Bradford as he looks to stay healthy this year. Bradford wasn’t asked to do much, completing his only attempt on the opening drive.
New head coaches sometimes struggle to establish an identity with their new team but it seems Wilks knows exactly the type of football he wants to play. Teams don’t tip their hand in their preseason but on the defensive end, Wilks’ scheme won’t be complex once the regular season rolls around which will allow his players not to think too much and just play fast.
Josh Rosen Shows Flashes In First Game Action
Josh Rosen came in after the opening possession and played the rest of the first half. Rosen was constantly under duress and took a fair share of hits, something he was accustomed to at UCLA. Despite being under pressure throughout the night, you can certainly see why the Cardinals move up to get Rosen. Rosen can make all the throws on the field and is very accurate, and he showed that last night when he had a clean pocket and could set his feet.
Rosen was by no means perfect. He still needs to work on his internal clock and getting the football out of his hands. Bradford excels in this area and he could certainly help Rosen with that. The rookie along with getting the ball out of his hands needs to get better anticipating the rush to avoid taking as many hits.
Bradford is clearly the starter but Rosen is not far behind.
Cap Capi At It Again
Markus Golden is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list and during his absence, the Cardinals are looking for depth behind him and Chandler Jones. Capi was in Cardinals camp last season and performed well but ultimately didn’t make the final 53. He is off to a great start as he recorded three sacks and a forced fumble in the Cardinals win.
Teams are constantly looking for guys who can rush the passer. Capi hopes to stick this time around when the Cardinals make the final cuts.
The Cardinals will take on the New Orleans Saints in the second week of preseason. It will be interesting to see what bubble guys stand out as they state their case to be on the final 53.