GLENDALE, AZ - After two wins and some dominate defense in preseason play, it looked like the Arizona Cardinals might be a surprise this season.
I call it a surprise because, well, everything is new. From the general manager to the coaching staff to most of the players.
But after two games, it looked like new coach Bruce Arians may have the magic touch! A 17 - 0 win over the Packers in Week 1 and then a 12-7 win over the Cowboys.
But this game was about the starters playing into the third quarter. Giving the "No. 1's" a chance to make adjustments and get used to the tempo through the first half and into the second. An opportunity for the coaching staff to make "in-game" adjustments and corrections so the starters get a feel for the regular season.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals starters got outplayed by the Chargers' first unit.
The Chargers beat the Cards, 24-7.
It wasn't pretty and it wasn't what most of us expected. After all, the Chargers started the preseason at 0-2. They just didn't seem to be a very good football team. Bingo, another win for the Cardinals! At least that's what I thought.
But boy was I wrong. Carson Palmer finished his playing time with 12 completions out of 23 attempts for 122 yards and one touchdown (on his final drive of the game).
Rashard Mendenhall made strides, finishing with 47 yards on 6 carries, while Andre Roberts once again led the Cardinals receiving corp with 2 catches for 42 yards.
Larry Fitzgerald had 4 catches on the night and the first one made you realize why he's a perennial All-Pro player.
But despite the poor showing by the starters, the team lost first round draft pick, Offensive Guard Jonathan Cooper in the third quarter when he got his left leg rolled up on. Cooper left the field on a cart with trainers and doctors and did not come back.
The Cardinals also lost starting tight end Rob Housler in the third with a right ankle injury. At this point, we don't know the severity of either injury, but ankle injuries can take time to heal, especially a "high ankle" sprain.
Let's hope that's all they are and not something more severe.
In summary, the Cardinals have a long way to go and given the fact that the regular season is just two weeks away, we may be waiting a while to see the improvements.
Hang in there Cardinal fans, we're used to this! Then again, maybe this was a ploy and the Cardinals are just baiting us, waiting to pounce when the regular season kicks off! OR NOT!