PHOENIX, AZ - The Arizona Cardinals open preseason action this weekend when they host the Houston Texans at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians is coming off a 10-6 season and enters year two at the helm with questions at inside linebacker and in the interior offensive line. With the loss of both Karlos Dansby (free agency) and Daryl Washington (league suspension), Arians will lean on second year pro Kevin Minter and 13-year veteran Larry Foote. Coach Arians seems comfortable with both.
On the interior offensive line, the Cardinals welcome left tackle Jared Veldheer (free agent from Oakland) and will look to create some cohesiveness with LG Jonathan Cooper (coming off a season-ending injury a year ago), an injured Lyle Sendlein at center, Paul Fanaika at right guard, and new right tackle Bobby Massie. The sooner the Cardinals can create some familiarity within the line, the more comfortable QB Carson Palmer will feel. (Palmer was sacked 47 times last season)
Coach Arians says the first teamers will play about 15 plays, or less, if they can put together a decent drive. The coach is looking for some situational type football before he pulls his starters although he’ll balance that with the need to avoid injuries in this first game.
The game between the Cardinals and Texans marks the third preseason game between the two teams and fifth game all-time. The Cardinals hold a 1-1 record against the Texans in both the preseason and regular season. Arizona won the last preseason game, beating the Texans 19-16 back in 2010.
Arizona coach Bruce Arians is 10-6 in one season in Arizona, while Texans coach Bill O’Brien is new to Houston. O’Brien was hired after Houston fired coach Gary Kubiak following a 2-14 season in 2013.
Since the University of Phoenix Stadium opened in 2006, the Cardinals have sold out 83 consecutive games.
After the starters are pulled from the game, focus your attention on the back-ups at the skill positions. The Cardinals are in need of finding a suitable back-up for Palmer at QB and it appears they’ll give rookie Logan Thomas most (if not all) of the snaps in the fourth quarter. Coach Arians is also looking for the guys who will step up and play at a high level when it counts the most – in a game!