The Arizona Cardinals have been outscored 48-13 and hold a minus-four turnover ratio through their first two preseason contests.
Preseason results are rarely indicative of regular season performances, and neither head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer are concerned about Arizona's struggles thus far.
"Not really, I see it in practice enough," Arians said when asked about offensive rhythm. "Whether or not we get into a rhythm in the plays that we play in this game, you would hope, just to be a little comforting. Everybody is back from last year, and I feel pretty confident."
Palmer is 7-for-13 for 75 yards this preseason, and threw just eight passes in three series against the San Diego Chargers on Friday evening. The 14th year NFL veteran has every player who caught a touchdown pass for the Cardinals last season back on offense this year, so Palmer said he's putting much more stock in what the group has accomplished in the past than what it has done in a couple of preseason contests.
"We've had 15 reps in preseason games, we've had thousands of reps thus far in training camp," Palmer said. "We've had tens of thousands of reps together as a unit and there's enough data looking back and looking back at all the plays in last year's games and OTAs and so far in this training camp, that's where you get your confidence and you see where you're made of and what you're made of. By looking at so many reps that we put together as a group, not by three series in a preseason game."
The third preseason game is traditionally the contest in which starters see their most extended action, often times playing through halftime and into the third quarter. However, Arians has indicated Arizona's starters, and especially its veterans, may not play much against Houston on Sunday.
Without knowing how many reps he should expect to take, Palmer said he's looking to focus on the first team offense's overall efficiency this weekend.
"Efficient, consistently good football, you don't know how much you're going to play," Palmer said. "You kind of don't want to know so you don't start thinking about it, so you can just focus on each play and I just think being efficient in the run game, in the pass game and everybody going and being on the same page, do your jobs and come out healthy."
Arians said the opportunity to play transition from training camp into specific game week preparations for Houston is a welcome sight for the Cardinals, who have a relatively experienced roster laden with veteran players.
The head coach said one of his main concerns is making sure players stay engaged throughout the preseason, and the Cardinals' Sunday and Monday practices offered Arizona a good opportunity to set the tone for the week ahead.
"Looking forward to game week preparation when we can finally put in the game plans, installations this morning to see how guys respond mentally," Arians said. "During this practice, you would hope mental errors and penalties would be reduced in the practice."