Saturday Preseason Recap

The Cardinals were victorious for the first time of the young season after a 27-17 win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Although the Cardinals came out on top, the offense sputtered at times and the defense continued to look pedestrian. Brad Wilbricht breaks down Saturday's preseason action in this AZRedReport.com exclusive.

While the Cardinals prevailed on the scoreboard they were out gained by the Kansas City Chiefs 345-215 in total yardage. In addition, the Chiefs also dominated time of possession (34:07-25:53) and first downs (22-13). On a positive note, the Cardinals reduced their mental errors and committed only three penalties for a total of 20 yards.

After being held out of action during last week's preseason opener, QB Kurt Warner looked sharp in his 2008 debut. Warner completed 6-of-9 passes for 54 yards. On the Cardinals second offensive possession, Warner orchestrated a 13-play, 78-yard drive culminated by a 4-yard touchdown run by rookie RB Tim Hightower.

Hightower has now rushed for two touchdowns in two weeks and continues to justify the Cardinals release of veteran RB Marcel Shipp. Shipp received the majority of the teams goal line carries last year, a role that Hightower will likely be taking over this season.

QB Matt Leinart relieved Warner on the Cardinals third offensive series and continued his outstanding play. Leinart finished 7-of-11 for 62 yards, highlighted by a 14-yard touchdown strike to WR Steve Breaston on the Cardinals first possession of the second half. Leinart displayed excellent poise, rebounding from three straight three-and-outs to end the first half.

FB Tim Castille experienced a breakout performance and may have positioned himself to dethrone incumbent starter Terrell Smith as the team's first-string fullback. Castille caught 4 passes for 45 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown reception from third-string QB Brian St. Pierre. Pierre was a perfect 4-of-4 passing for 40 yards and one touchdown.

For the second week in a row, the Cardinals defense allowed their opponent to score on their first offensive possession of the game. The Chiefs marched 46 yards on 12 plays, resulting in a 32-yard field goal by Nick Novak.


Travis LaBoy
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

Rookie FS Dennis Keyes had the play of the game on defense, intercepting a Tyler Thigpen pass and returning it 84 yards for a touchdown. Another bright spot of defense was the play of DE/OLB Travis LaBoy. LaBoy was a force to be reckoned with totaling 8 tackles and 2 sacks on the evening. CB Travarous Bain, CB Marcus Brown and LB Karlos Dansby all chipped in with 5 tackles each.

The highlight of the night on special teams was backup RB J.J. Arrington's 78-yard kickoff return. Arrington has been a severe disappointment throughout his career but showed signs of life on Saturday night. He'll need to build on his performance if he hopes to secure a roster spot behind Hightower and starting RB Edgerrin James.

The Cardinals continue preseason play next week at Oakland before returning home to host Denver on August 29.


Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at bwill5025@msn.com

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