Raiders vs. Cardinals Preseason Notes: What We Learned
The Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders had their hands in the dirt on the West Coast on Friday night, with the Cardinals somehow stumbling to a 31-27 win on the road in their third preseason game of the year.
While the Cardinals got the win, they found only more things to be concerned about. Let’s dive into a few of those things, as well as some notes from the Raiders:
1. Kevin Kolb is Bombing
Some will say Arizona’s offensive line is terrible and Kolb hasn’t had a fair shake. I’m not one of those people. Their line is bad, but Kolb isn’t helping them. The guy flat-out holds onto the ball waaaaaaay too long. He’s like Blaine Gabbert in his rookie year. He’s just not playing the quarterback position wisely right now. He’s not just holding onto the ball, either. He’s taking awful sacks, and when he does somehow throw the ball away, he looks terrible in the process. He hasn’t done much right in three games, and he’s running out of time.
If you haven’t noticed, this guy is in a quarterback battle, and he’s not even showing up. John Skelton is destroying him in this position battle, and Skelton isn’t even playing that well. He went 3-for-3 with a touchdown on Friday night, but otherwise has been suspect, himself. Fortunately for Skelton, he can’t lose this job, though, because Kevin Kolb isn’t an NFL quarterback right now.
2. Arizona’s O-Line is Weak
Now that I’ve finished my rant, I can safely say the Cardinals are in for a very long season if something doesn’t get fixed. Skelton looked OK tonight, but he, too, struggled to get off good passes in the first two games because of shaky pass protection. The Cardinals have had issues with their o-line for years, but I’ve never seen it this bad. It’s still just the preseason, but this is some ugly foreshadowing if I’ve ever seen it.
3. Oakland’s D-Line is Crazy Good
On the flip-side, the Raiders’ front four is clearly very talented and has now made mince meat of both the Cowboys and Cardinals’ first-team o-lines. I’m not sure if both of those offensive lines are atrocious or not, but I also can’t buy that these Raiders are suddenly a top-five defensive line in terms of putting on a consistent pass-rush. They’re good, sure, but are they really this good? It kind of reminds me of the Buffalo Bills’ defense last preseason. They started hot, and then fizzled out in the regular season. Oakland can be good, but I’d take these first two dominating preseason performances with a big grain of salt.
4. Ryan Williams is Back
Chris “Beanie” Wells is still nursing a bum knee, while Ryan Williams finally returned to action on Friday, and actually played pretty well. With both backs under 100% entering the season, they’re basically knee-deep in the quietest running back competition in the league. Wells hasn’t played yet, while Williams ran for 25 yards and a touchdown on just five carries. Considering he tore his patellar tendon a year ago, his legs looked lively enough, and he pushed against the opposition with good strength. If he can continue to improve and stay away from any setbacks, I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up leading the team in rushing yardage in 2012.
5. William Powell is Making His Mark
We talked about the big names, so how about an impressive guy you may not even know? Cardinals’ running back William Powell impressed last week with Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams out, and once again raised some eyebrows in his third preseason game on Friday night. Not only did Powell rush for 37 yards and a score on just seven attempts, but he also added 134 yards off of four kick returns. He’s shown himself to be an effective runner with a solid burst, and is also displaying some fine ability on return duty. He’s getting closer and closer to earning himself a roster spot.