3 big takeaways from the Arizona Cardinals' loss in their preseason opener

Posted at 10:13 PM, Aug 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-13 01:13:40-04

The final score means nothing -- remember, the Cardinals lost both of their home preseason games last season -- but there were some potential causes for concern in the Cards' 31-10 loss to the visiting Oakland Raiders in their preseason opener Friday.

Here are three observations from that game that was played in front of a packed University of Phoenix Stadium.

See also: 3 takeaways from the performance of the Cardinals' starters vs. the Raiders

1. Backup QBs come up short

Carson Palmer looked fine in his one and only drive of the game, though he got away with a pass that should have been intercepted on his first throw of the game. But for the most part, his backups did not impress Friday.

Second-stringer Drew Stanton was wild in the first half, overthrowing receivers and tossing an interception that led to a Raiders touchdown. Third-stringer Matt Barkley had some quality passes dropped by receivers, but he continued to look like the "yo-yo" that coach Bruce Arians described him as, as he threw too many ill-advised passes, including an interception in the red zone. And undrafted rookie QB Jake Coker... well, he reminded us why he went undrafted.

None of this will matter, of course, if Palmer is able to remain healthy during the regular season. But it'd certainly be reassuring to see Stanton and/or Barkley put together a decent performance before the preseason ends.

2. Running game looks sharp

The Cardinals' top concern this time last year was a lack of depth at the running back position. That's not at all a concern this year, and we were reminded of this Friday.

Starting running back David Johnson was stellar during limited action, gaining 31 yards on three carries, and backups Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams combined for 67 yards on eight rushes. Arizona ran for a total of 111 yards on its first 16 carries of the game -- a promising sign as we inch closer to the regular season.

3. Rookies struggle overall

Fourth-round pick Evan Boehm had some outstanding moments at center Friday, but the Cardinals' other rookies, along with second-year "rookie" offensive lineman D.J. Humphries, failed to impress.

Humphries, who is more or less a rookie after not playing at all last season, was run over multiple times on the Cardinals' opening drive. Cornerback and third-round pick Brandon Williams was burned several times, including for a touchdown in the second quarter. And safety/fifth-round pick Marqui Christian missed several crucial tackles.

It'll be interesting to see how the youngsters respond during practice in San Diego next week and in their next preseason game against the Chargers next Friday.