How did the Cardinals' starters do vs. the Raiders? 3 big takeaways

Posted at 8:03 PM, Aug 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-13 08:58:59-04

We caught a glimpse of the Arizona Cardinals' starters during Saturday night's preseason home opener vs. the Oakland Raiders.

Here are three observations -- all positive -- as the Cardinals went on to beat the Raiders 20-10 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

1. Palmer performs well

With a little help from a pair of defensive penalties that extended the drive, starting quarterback Carson Palmer threw a touchdown on his only drive of the game. Aside from a pair of miscommunications with receiver Jaron Brown, Palmer looked just fine, completing passes for first downs on a trio of third-down plays, including a 12-yard throw to Brittan Golden for the score.

The offensive line, which was missing starting tackle D.J. Humphries, gave Palmer plenty of time to throw, albeit against the Raiders' second-string defenders. For the drive, Palmer completed 4 of 8 passes for 39 yards and a TD.

2. David Johnson's back

We saw a very, very limited amount of David Johnson on Saturday, but what we saw should give Cardinals fans assurance that the Pro Bowler is 100 percent after the scary knee injury he suffered in the final week of last season.

Johnson rushed the ball three times for 16 yards, including a 10-yard gain on a nice run to the outside as seen in the above video. In contrast, Chris Johnson, the Cards' No. 2 running back, didn't have as much luck, rushing for just two yards on three carries.

3. Robert Nkemdiche comes up big

He's not listed as a starter (yet), but second-year defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche has been practicing with the first-team defense lately, and on Saturday, we got to see why.

The 2016 first-round pick made his presence known on back-to-back plays during the Raiders' second drive of the game, including a big play on fourth down in which he helped lead a push up front to stuff an Oakland run and give the Cardinals the ball. More of this, please, Mr. Nkemdiche.