The Arizona Cardinals hosted their second-straight pre-season game falling to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 at State Farm Stadium.
Here are five things we learned Friday evening in Glendale.
1. First-Team Offen(sive)?…Yes, it’s pre-season but Kliff Kingsbury won’t sleep soundly this weekend considering his starting offense produced little against Kansas City’s starters, most notably three-straight three-and-outs. “Not real sharp obviously, offensively,” Kingsbury said after the loss. “We’ve got a lot to work on. We weren’t very sharp.” Arizona’s final possession of the first quarter started at their own 46 and ended at their own 33 after two sacks and an incompletion.
Four possessions, 5:45 of possession time for the Cardinals.
— Vince Marotta (@Vincemarotta) August 21, 2021
Murray, who didn’t play in last week’s win over Dallas, finished just 1-4 for two yards. He did have a nice eight-yard run on a scramble in front of the Chiefs’ bench but didn’t produce a first down in his nine snaps. “None of us want to go out there and go three-and-out three times in a row,” D.J. Humphries explained. “It’s definitely frustrating.” Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins dressed but didn’t play. Arizona was also without starting tight end Maxx Williams and first-team left guard Justin Pugh. Again, it’s just pre-season but improvements need to be made.
2. Murphy’s Law…The local kid has a story to tell his grandkids one day. Saguaro High alum Byron Murphy killed a KC scoring opportunity tip-toeing the corner of the end zone and picking off Patrick Mahomes for a touchback.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 21, 2021
“I knew he was going to be rolling out to his right,” Murphy explained. “I made the play…I’m seeing things a little bit faster.” The third-year cornerback’s continued progress will be key in a quarterback-loaded-division which got even better with the Rams off-season acquisition of Matthew Stafford. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has been impressed with Murphy’s improvement after being thrown in the fire two years ago as a rookie.
3. Yet Another Weapon?…One player who has turned heads in Cards’ Camp is Antoine Wesley, a rangy 6-4, 206-pound target who played for Kingsbury at Texas Tech. The 23-year-old played his first two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens before signing as a free agent with Arizona in May. He could land on the practice squad as a long-term project in the system due to his youth, athleticism, and upside. In his final college season with the Red Raiders, Wesley earned All-American honors after posting 88 receptions for 1,410 yards and nine touchdowns.
4. That’s Watts Up!…Maybe the most interesting news Friday night happened on the Arizona sideline when J.J. Watt said, during an in-game interview with ESPN, that he will be at practice on Monday and hit the field for the first time at training camp. The team placed their veteran Pro Bowl defensive lineman on the PUP list with a hamstring string injury which occurred during a run test in late July. “We expect him to come back,” Kingsbury confirmed. “Just to get him in with the guys will be good for us.”
5. Andy’s Dandy…As Murray and the Cards’ first-team offense sputtered, veteran punter Andy Lee picked up the slack flipping field position with punts of 50, 58, and 53 yards. The veteran signed a one-deal to remain in Arizona back in March after averaging 44.8 yards per attempt, his lowest since 2006. Second-year performer Tyler Newsome is the other punter in camp this summer.
The Cards will conclude their preseason slate August 28th in New Orleans against the Saints and then open their 17-game game schedule on the road against the Tennessee Titans.