How did the Arizona Cardinals' starters look in their 1st preseason game? 3 big takeaways

Posted at 9:04 PM, Aug 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-13 00:17:58-04

Other than rookie cornerback Brandon Williams and second-year offensive lineman D.J. Humphries, the Arizona Cardinals' starters didn't see much action during Friday's preseason opener against the visiting Oakland Raiders.

But that doesn't mean we can't squeeze a few observations out of what we did see Friday night. Here are three big takeaways.

1. Williams gets picked on early and often

Welcome to the NFL, Brandon Williams. The rookie cornerback, who played the entire first half, surprised many by being listed as a starting cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson on the team's initial depth chart -- and while he's looked spectacular during training camp, he struggled quite a bit in his first real game action Friday.

On the first play of the game, Raiders quarterback David Carr completed a 17-yard pass to Michael Crabtree, who beat Williams badly on the play. Williams was beaten downfield by Amari Cooper twice later in the first quarter, though Williams was fortunate that both passes were incomplete. He wasn't as fortunate later in the quarter, however, when Matt McGloin connected with Andre Holmes, whom Williams was covering, on a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Williams did make a nice play by defending a pass on third down and forcing a punt in the second quarter, and later recovering a fumble. But veteran cornerback Justin Bethel, who's nursing an injury right now, is waiting in the wings -- and when he's healthy, he could easily take Williams' starting job if the third-round pick doesn't look sharper going forward.

2. David Johnson is still David Johnson

Quarterback Carson Palmer looked decent in very limited action (3 for 5, 35 yards), though he was lucky his first pass attempt of the game wasn't picked off. But the star of the first-team offense's solo drive Friday was running back David Johnson.

The second-year running back turned plenty of heads last season, and he did the same Friday by rushing for 31 yards on three carries, including a ridiculous 23-yard gain to set up a first and goal for the Cards. He also made a nice block on a pass play that resulted in a 30-yard completion from Palmer to Michael Floyd.

3. D.J. Humphries has a rough night

The Cardinals' offensive tackle isn't a rookie, but he might as well be; the 2015 first-round pick didn't see the field at all during the regular season. This year, he's listed as a starter -- but he didn't look like one Friday.

The 6-foot-5, 285-pounder got pushed around quite a bit, especially on the Cards' opening drive. Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack did more or less whatever he wanted against Humphries.

Fortunately for Humphries, Palmer had a different view of his performance.