JaMarcus Russell and Travis LaBoy
With preseason game No. 3 being touted as most important, the Cardinals brought their A-game to the field Saturday with a 24-0 sweep against the Oakland Raiders. For those players on the bubble, this was their chance to prove that they deserve a spot on the limited roster. For the guys with names penciled in, this was there chance to put it in ink. Here is what worked and what didn't in Oakland.
Clark Haggans and Travis LaBoy stepped up in a big way Saturday. After being switched in for Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor, both came into the game fired up and continued to make the Raiders offense work hard for their yards. The Cardinals kept the Raiders 54 yards on the ground and 111 in the air, which is the lowest numbers of the preseason so far.
Haggans in particular had a heavy sack continuing to hold Oakland back from scoring.
Defense as a whole came together strong with many key plays being made to keep Oakland at 54 yards on 19 rushing attempts. Key sacks were also made by Monty Beisel, Gerald Hayes, and Darnell Dockett who kept up the workout on Oakland quarterback Jamarcus Russell.
Karlos Dansby had a key play when he made an interception after defense continued to force Russell to throw the ball.
On the offensive side of the ball, J.J. Arrington also had an impressive run in which he ran the ball for a 67 yard touchdown. Arrington led the team with 71 yards that he compiled on two carries.
Leading the receiving game was Anquan Boldin who made his preseason debut and registered 54 yards on three receptions.
What Didn't Work
Although Ken Whisenhunt announced that penalties would begin to result in benching, Darnell Dockett still made a personal foul after the interception from Dansby resulting in a 15-yard penalty.
Though the foul being miniscule Whisenhunt still benched Dockett for the mistake to show the team he is serious. After leading the NFL with most penalties last season, Cardinals need to clean up the act, with this being the first step towards that.
Unfortunately for Matt Leinart and all those rooting for him, he put on a terrible show in Oakland. His four completions and three interceptions are not the numbers the Cardinals are looking for, but that’s not say that Kurt Warner was that much better.
Warner had his own mishaps with a fumble and a few missed passes to sure-targets Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.
Despite the win, mistakes were the name of the game on Saturday. Though there were strong offensive performances from individuals such as Arrington, Tim Hightower, Leonard Pope and Anquan Boldin, it was the defense that kept Oakland scoring and prevented the Raiders from moving the ball much.
With the preseason coming to a slow end and cuts remaining to be made, much is in the air for the Cardinals. With the continual battle between Leinart and Warner for the starting quarterback position, it’s difficult to say how their performances will affect the outcome.
With the last preseason game coming against the Denver Broncos on August 29, the Cardinals have some fine tuning to make before the heat of the season comes in full force.