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3 big questions for the Cardinals' preseason game at the Cowboys

Posted: 5:38 PM, Aug 23, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-23 20:38:28-04

Wins and losses don't matter in August, but there's nothing wrong with the Arizona Cardinals being 2-0 in the preseason. They'll look to remain undefeated when they head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Here are three key things for Cards fans to keep an eye on when that game begins Sunday at 5 p.m.

1. Will we see Rosen on Sunday?

After a so-so debut vs. the Chargers, Josh Rosen shined in the Cardinals' second preseason game, completing 10 of 16 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown vs. the Saints. The difference? The Cards' offensive line gave Rosen time to throw in New Orleans, a luxury he didn't have in Game 1.

Rosen has missed practice time this week with a minor thumb injury, but coach Steve Wilks is optimistic the rookie quarterback will play vs. the Cowboys. Will he continue to give fans hope that he can indeed be the Cards' QB of the future -- and possibly challenge veteran Sam Bradford for the starting job?

2. Will Kirk and Williams step up again?

The Cardinals' No. 2 wide receiver position (behind obvious No. 1 guy Larry Fitzgerald) seems to be wide-open at the moment. Contenders include 2018 second-round draft pick Christian Kirk, second-year pro Chad Williams and free-agent signing (and former Cowboy) Brice Butler.

Butler sat out last week with a foot injury, but Kirk and Williams both had big games and have been singled out for praise by Wilks. In particular, Kirk caught his first NFL touchdown pass vs. the Saints, a 13-yard strike from Rosen. Butler is currently listed as a starter on the Cardinals' depth chart, but will Kirk or Williams take another step forward Sunday in their quest to earn that job?

3. Will the Cards' rushing defense improve?

Last season, the Cardinals were the NFL's sixth-best team in rushing yards allowed per game and third-best in yards allowed per carry. But the run defense has gotten off to a rough start this preseason, especially when it allowed 183 yards on the ground vs. the Saints. A large chunk of those yards came when the defensive starters were still on the field during the first quarter.

Star Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will not play Sunday, but it would certainly be reassuring to see the Cardinals' defense -- especially the first-teamers -- allow fewer big rushing plays Sunday. No doubt Wilks, a former defensive coordinator, will be hoping for the same.