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4 big takeaways: Cardinals vs. Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game

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Posted at 8:48 PM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 23:59:23-04

The Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys kicked off the 2017 NFL preseason Thursday night at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The starters didn't play, but we learned a lot about rookies and other players trying to make the team in the Cards' 20-18 loss to the Cowboys.

Here are four big takeaways from the game.

1. Gabbert gains ground in backup QB race

Yes, it was only a preseason game, but we've got to talk about how impressive Blaine Gabbert looked Thursday. He completed 11 of 14 passes (two of his three incomplete passes were dropped) for 185 yards during the first half. He led the Cardinals on back-to-back touchdown drives to open the game. 

If the Cardinals are open to Gabbert passing Drew Stanton for the role of No. 2 QB behind Carson Palmer, Gabbert certainly didn't hurt his case against the Cowboys.

2. Trevor Knight not terrific

It was undrafted rookie Trevor Knight's turn at quarterback in the second half, and he didn't impress as much as Gabbert did. The former Texas A&M standout struggled to make timely decisions in the pocket, and some of his throws were off the mark.

For the game, Knight completed just 5 of 14 passes for 68 yards. He was already unlikely to make the Cardinals' 53-man regular-season roster, and he probably didn't do anything to change coaches' minds Thursday.

3. Mixed bag for Brandon Williams

Cardinals second-year cornerback Brandon Williams lost his starting job early last season, and his first in-game attempt to win it back this season was all over the place.

The 6-foot, 201-pounder had fantastic coverage when he made an interception in the end zone late in the first half, but he was also burned for a big pass play in the first quarter and committed a couple of penalties.

4. Rookie report

A pair of rookies stood out on Thursday for the Cardinals...

Safety Budda Baker, the team's second-round pick, broke up multiple passes and displayed the kind of field vision the team was looking for from him. The team's fifth-round pick, running back T.J. Logan, made an outstanding kickoff return and stellar punt return -- although the later was wiped out by a penalty. Logan did suffer a wrist injury that Arians hopes isn't serious.