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3 important takeaways from the Arizona Cardinals' preseason loss to the Houston Texans

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Posted at 4:48 PM, Aug 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-28 19:52:06-04

They're 0-3. What, if anything, does it mean?

The Arizona Cardinals are still winless during preseason play after Sunday's 34-24 loss at the Houston Texans. Here are three important takeaways from the defeat.

1. Thank goodness for the running game.

Once again, we were reminded of just how scary the Cardinals' rushing attack could be this year. Starting running back David Johnson once again made his case to be the No. 1 overall pick in your fantasy draft, as he had an efficient six carries for 28 yards and a touchdown.

The Cards' top three rushers -- David Johnson, Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington -- recorded 77 yards on 16 carries, nearly five yards per rush. All three of those men could be the top guy on a number of NFL teams. Health permitting, the Cards' backfield is in good hands, and hopefully none of those men will see much playing time in their final preseason game Thursday.

2. Drew Stanton looks terrible.

Carson Palmer threw a pair of interceptions Sunday, but that's not really a big deal. He'll be fine. However, it sure looks like the Cards could be in dire straits if Palmer misses any action during the regular season.

Why? Because backup quarterback Drew Stanton has been horrible, awful, dreadful during preseason play. He has struggled to make even the simplest throw and, as a result, has completed less than half of his passes during all three of his appearances.

Stanton has never been an elite QB but he's been a serviceable backup when called upon. He just doesn't look like that guy right now. Preseason or not, this is definitely not a good sign heading into regular-season play.

3. Holding our breath on Mike Jenkins.

It doesn't look good for Cardinals' free-agent addition Mike Jenkins. The veteran cornerback went down with an apparent knee injury in the first half of Sunday's game and was visibly frustrated as he was carted off the field. We're still waiting to learn the severity of the injury to Jenkins, who the team signed to a 1-year deal in July.

The Cardinals could be in trouble at cornerback beyond Patrick Peterson, as rookie Brandon Williams has looked great during practice but has struggled during in-game play, and veteran Justin Bethel, who's a better special-teams player than he is a cornerback, was burned badly on a first-half Texans touchdown pass. Jenkins' absence could be a significant blow to the Cards' lack of depth at the CB position.

(Running back Stepfan Taylor also left the game early with a knee injury. We're awaiting details on his status, as well.)