Arizona Cardinals fans saw plenty of good, bad and ugly from their team in their preseason opener vs. the Los Angeles Chargers.
On Friday, new head coach Steve Wilks and the Cards will get their first road test of the preseason when they travel to New Orleans to face the Saints. Here are three important things to keep an eye on during that matchup, which will begin Friday at 5 p.m. Arizona time.
1. How will Rosen look with the first-team guys?
Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen saw his first in-game action last weekend, and the results were — well, mixed. Rosen made some poor decisions, but he also had little time to throw thanks in part to some poor snaps from backup center Daniel Munyer.
On Friday, Rosen will spend some time playing alongside the first-team offense, including (presumably) the Cardinals’ starting offensive linemen, who looked impressive in limited action vs. the Chargers. With better snaps and more time to throw, will Rosen produce better results?
2. Will Edmonds solidify himself as RB2?
We learned vs. the Chargers that David Johnson appears to be back at full speed after missing nearly all of 2017. But with Adrian Peterson and Kerwynn Williams gone, who will serve as Johnson’s primary backup this season?
2018 fourth-round pick Chase Edmonds is currently listed behind Johnson on the depth chart, and he rushed five times for 11 yards, including a gritty 2-yard touchdown run, vs. the Chargers. ASU alum D.J. Foster and second-year pro T.J. Logan -- the latter of whom missed the entire 2017 season -- are No. 3 and 4 on the depth chart, respectively, and all figure to see more action Friday night. Will Edmonds solidify his role as Johnson’s primary backup, or will his competitors for that position make the Cards' coaching staff reconsider?
3. Do the Cards have defensive depth?
NFL.com analyst Adam Schein believes the Cardinals have the third-best defensive unit in the NFL. There’s definitely plenty to like about the Cards’ D, including All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and sack machine Chandler Jones. But just how much depth do the Cardinals have on the defensive side of the ball?
A handful of reserves stood out vs. the Chargers — and unfortunately, one of those defenders, linebacker Jeremy Cash, suffered a season-ending injury. Beyond Cash, defensive end Cap Capi recorded three sacks and a forced fumble, defensive tackle Olsen Pierre had a sack and two tackles for loss, and cornerback Bené Benwikere forced a fumble and tipped a pass that was intercepted by safety A.J. Howard.
All of these men are doing their best to make the team’s 53-man regular-season roster. Will they step up again Friday, or will Cards fans become acquainted with names of other players trying to survive the cut?