Not Just Yet: Arizona
Cardinals Are NFL’s Best
Despite The Result From The First Contest Of The Preseason, The Regular Season Is A Bitter Mistress Which Should Temper Enthusiasm For Now: Also, Suns Still Haven’t Done Much And Rattlers Reach The ArenaBowl
By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine
August 12, 2014 — The Cardinals officially started the preseason with a bang, defeating the Houston Texans 32-0 on Saturday. It’s only the first preseason game, so temper the excitement — but the results are still very encouraging.
The biggest takeaway from the game came from the Cardinals’ three quarterbacks — Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, and Logan Thomas — who combined for 349 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas, a rookie, really impressed, completing 11 of 12 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Both Palmer and Stanton looked comfortable in the offense, so the Cardinals have a good chance of picking up where they left off offensively during the second half of last season.
The two receivers fighting for the fourth wide receiver spot also put up big games. Rookie John Brown led the team with five catches for 87 yards. Jaron Brown (no relation) only had two catches for 15 yards, but made a great five yard touchdown catch in traffic in the second quarter.
Tight end Rob Housler, once on the outs with the team, made the most of his new starting role in the two-tight-end sets. He is now starting opposite John Carlson due to the sudden retirement of Jake Ballard. He caught a 38-yard pass from Palmer in the first quarter.
As the Eric Bledsoe saga stretches on, it’s looking more and more likely that he is going to sign the Suns’ qualifying offer. This is a big risk for the point guard, considering his injury history. It doesn’t carry the security of a long term deal.
However, if Bledsoe can play well and stay healthy next season, he could be in line for that max contract teams are unwilling to give him this year.
In other news, Phoenix rejected a trade offer from Indianapolis that would have sent Roy Hibbert to the Suns for Goran Dragic. This could be a sign that the Suns aren’t confident they can ink Bledsoe to a long term deal. It also makes sense because Dragic realized his potential last season, while Hibbert is consistently falling short of his own.
Phoenix also appears to be confident in its defense around the rim, an area where Hibbert would be a clear upgrade. But, that doesn’t mean the Suns are weak in that area. The Morris twins and center Miles Plumlee all improved over the course of last season. If former first-round pick center Alex Len can realize some of his potential, the Suns front court will be in good shape without any trades.
The Rattlers shook off the rust that has plagued the team over last month or so and handedly defeated the San Jose SaberCats 72-55 on Sunday to win the National Conference Championship and advance to the ArenaBowl.
Quarterback Nick Davila led the charge, throwing for 276 yards and eight touchdowns. He also ran for another score.
Arizona will face Cleveland in the ArenaBowl on Aug. 23.
Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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