The Arizona Cardinals' first preseason road test is upon them when they face the San Diego Chargers at QualComm Stadium beginning at 6 p.m. Friday on ABC15.
The Cards are hoping their second preseason game will produce a better all-around result than they experienced in their opener, a 31-10 home loss to the Raiders. Meanwhile, a former Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback will look to make a big splash for the host Chargers.
Here are three important things to watch Friday night.
1. Barkley's progression.
Coach Bruce Arians has said third-string quarterback Matt Barkley has been a "yo-yo" throughout training camp, and that description certainly fit Barkley's uneven performance last week against the Raiders (8 of 24, 121 yards, one interception).
If all goes well, Barkley won't see the field during the regular season -- but if he's called upon, it'd be nice to know the Cards will be in capable hands. Let's hope the third-year QB looks more consistent and a bit less yo-yo-like Friday night in San Diego.
2. Brandon Williams' cover skills.
2016 third-round draft pick Brandon Williams surprised many when he was listed as a starting cornerback opposite perennial Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson on the Cardinals' initial depth chart. But the 6-foot, 201-pounder from Texas A&M didn't look like an NFL-caliber starter for the majority of his NFL debut when the Raiders' quarterbacks picked on him early and often.
Williams has a tremendous amount of upside, but if he's going to hold off veteran cornerback Justin Bethel for the starting job heading into the regular season, the Cards will likely need to see more from him during the remainder of the preseason. He'll have a second chance to impress Arians & Co. on Friday against the Chargers.
3. Berco's abilities.
ASU fans will probably see a familiar face during the second half of Friday's game when former Sun Devil quarterback Mike Bercovici is expected to see action for the Chargers. The 6-foot, 210-pounder started for ASU last season and threw the now-famous "Jael Mary" touchdown pass in 2014, and he signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent April 30.
Bercovici didn't look terrific in the Chargers' preseason opener (3 of 6, 46 yards and an interception) and is currently listed as the fourth QB on the team's depth chart. He has a lot to prove if he wants to make San Diego's 53-man regular-season roster, and he'll look to make some big plays Friday against the Cardinals' secondary.