PHOENIX - Let's face it, a win is a win at any level, and a shut-out is equally impressive. After one pre-season game, the Arizona Cardinals have one of each.
The Cardinals traveled to Green Bay Friday night and came away with a nice win to start the Bruce Arians era in Arizona.
The defense finished with a shut-out (that's the first pre-season shut-out suffered by the Packers since 1987), including three sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. Not a bad day's work with a new defensive coordinator and in a new defensive scheme.
Things didn't look quite so good for the defense in the first quarter when Aaron Rodgers effortlessly led the Packers on a 12 play drive. It ended on the Cardinals two yard line after Green Bay decided to work on the running game instead of doing what they could to score.
Patrick Peterson did come up with an interception of a Graham Harrell pass, but then again, it looked like Harrell threw it to him. Peterson told me after the game that he lured Harrell into throwing the pass to him. He added that he is a fisherman and he knows how to use a lure!
Offensively, Carson Palmer played just three short series for a total of nine plays, but he did look crisp, finishing 4 of 6 for 77 yards and a touchdown. The best news may be the fact that Palmer wasn't rushed, didn't get sacked and never felt pressure in the pocket. Some of that could be attributed to the Packers lackluster defense, but then again, we'll take what we can get after suffering through a league high 58 sacks in 2012.
Andre Roberts dropped a pass from Palmer early in the first, but did come back to catch a 38-yarder for a touchdown just a few minutes later. Palmer told me after the game that he underthrew Roberts on the first one.
On the ground, the Cardinals utilized rookie running back Stepfan Taylor out of Stanford. Taylor looked more like a work horse, pounding out 64 yards rushing on 20 tough carries. It's nice to see a rookie carry the load in the run game, especially with Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams suffering with injuries.
In the kicking game, Jay Feely struggled, missing two field goals. That's not a good thing for a veteran kicker, especially when you're the oldest player on the roster. Coach Arians may decide to go a different route after Feely's two misses.
Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals' risky third round draft pick came up big against the Packers' third string, finishing with 4 tackles, including 1 sack and 1 tackle for loss.
Considering the fact that everything is new here in Arizona, we'll take the win, especially at the expense of the Packers! Cardinals are 1-0 in the pre-season and will host the Dallas Cowboys next Saturday, August 17, 2013. You can watch the game on ABC15 starting at 1 p.m.