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The Arizona Cardinals lost 16-13 to the Denver Broncos in both teams' preseason finale Thursday night. Despite holding a 10-point lead early in the second half, the Cardinals couldn't grind out the win. Broncos kicker Matt Prater drilled a 44-yard field goal as regulation expired.
The biggest story line surrounding the Cardinals -- starting quarterback -- wasn't answered Thursday as neither Kevin Kolb nor John Skelton saw playing time. Still, a few few starters, including running back Beanie Wells did see the field, and SB Nation's Arizona Cardinals blog, Revenge of the Birds, was impressed by Wells' performance.
"Although the starting QB carousel was out, some of the offensive starters did play, with Beanie Wells getting a few touches early on in the game, and looked sharp, posting a five yard per carry average. The RB had this to say about his performance. "I have to get my leg drive and get my feet under me." My thoughts are five yards a carry and he still needs to get his leg drive back bodes well for a team who will need to run the ball to compensate for the passing game."
For more analysis on Thursday's game and everything else surrounding the Cardinals, head over to Revenge of the Birds.
The Cardinals began the second half of their final preseason game with Richard Bartel at quarterback. Bartel had not seen action in the last two preseason games and was sacked on his first play from scrimmage.
During the Cardinals second possession, Bartel was sacked for the second time, after completing a 52-yard pass to Isaiah Williams down the middle of the field. Bartel was injured on the play and left the game 4-5 for 92 yards. Jay Feely finished the Cardinals drive with a 41-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 10-0 lead.
The Broncos fourth round draft pick out of Arizona State, Omar Bolden, ran back the ensuing kickoff back for a 103 yard touchdown. The Broncos later tied the game at 10-10 on a 14-play, 94-yard drive led by Osweiler. On the Cardinals next possession, Ryan Lindley had his pass intercepted, and the Broncos capitalized by kicking a 43-yard field goal, giving them a 13-10 lead.
Lindley struggled early in the second half, but hit Isaiah Williams for a 56 yard completion, taking the ball down to the Broncos 13 yard line with 2:12 left in the game. The Cardinals could only come away with a 35-yard field goal to tie the score at 13-13 with 57 seconds left in the game.
Broncos third quarterback on the night, Adam Weber, came in and hit Greg Orton for a 45-yard completion. After downing the ball in the middle of the field, Matt Prater drilled a 44-yard field goal to give the Broncos the 16-13 victory as time ran off the clock. Just another disappointing ending, as the Cardinals defense could not stop the Broncos in the second half.
Ryan Lindley finished the game 14-26 for 176 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Cardinals running game was ineffective in the second half, as they could only garner 17 total yards. Receivers Isaiah Williams, LaRon Byrd, and DeMarco Sampson all had three receptions on the night, but all three also made their share of mistakes. Justin Bethel led the defense with seven tackles. Blake Gideon finished with four tackles, and the Cardinals defense ended with five sacks and one interception.
Now it's time for the Cardinals to select their starting quarterback and begin the regular season.
The Cardinals moved the ball pretty well during their first possession until Bobbie Massie got a holding call that stalled the drive. Jay Feely attempted a 40-yard field goal, but it hit the left upright and fell short. On the Cardinals second drive, Ryan Lindley found rookie Michael Floyd in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. Floyd made a great juggling catch when he tipped the ball to himself.
The Cardinals offense utilized a good mix of running and passing plays in the first half. Ryan Lindley ended the half 9 of 13 for 101 yards and a touchdown, probably securing his spot as the third-string quarterback. Beanie Wells looked good in his brief appearance, rushing for 35 yards on 7 carries, while Ryan Williams did not have any carries.
In their final possession, Cardinals receiver DeMarco Sampson fumbled the ball on their own 21 yard line with 47 seconds left in the half. The Cardinals defense held the Broncos scoreless, sacking Broncos quarterback Caleb Hanie on the final play of the half, and five times throughout the first half. Linebacker Reggie Walker leads the team with four tackles and a sack. The Cardinals held the Broncos to 116 total yards, and Michael Adams and A.J. Jefferson both broke up passes late in the half.
The NFL Players Association and the NFL came to terms on a couple of rule changes for the upcoming season on Thursday by agreeing to extended the trade deadline as well as tweak the usage of players on the injured reserve.
Before the rule change, a player placed on IR before the season started was ineligible to return to the squad that season. Now players who were placed on IR by Sept. 4 can return at some point during the season if the injury allows. Like before, any player placed on IR later than that date can return that season as well.
As for the change to the trade deadline, it has been pushed back to Week 8 of the season instead of of its previous spot during Week 6, giving teams extra flexibility to make a trade as the playoffs draw near.
Getting a brief of the Cardinals and the guys that will be cut.
It's the preseason finale for both the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos, the most meaningless game of the entire preseason and regular season, and yet the Cardinals have managed to make this one intriguing.
But let's start with the Broncos. Locals will be happy to see an old friend back in town, well, a few old friends. Quarterback Brock Osweiler, wide receiver Gerell Robinson and cornerback Omar Bolden return to the Valley for the first time for a game since they were Arizona State Sun Devils in 2011.
The Cardinals, of course, still have yet to name a starting quarterback for the regular season. You might think that Kevin Kolb and John Skelton will get another shot to compete in the preseason finale, yet neither are expected to play. If that's the case, then this game is more for the roster spot battles at other positions.
So what we could be left with is a battle of two teams who competed for the service of one Peyton Manning, the Cardinals and Broncos. And Manning, a Bronco, will likely not play.
Now what is left? Cardinals fans can watch Ryan Lindley, the No. 3 quarterback, try to make plays behind an offensive line that has struggled mightily in the preseason. Maybe someone, perhaps a backup (Senio Kelemete?) on the O-line will emerge as more reliable.
Denver is 1-2, the Cardinals 1-3. It doesn't sound so great, especially with ASU opening its season right around the same time across the Valley in Tempe. But Osweiler, with a good showing, just might win himself a place right behind Manning on the Denver depth chart.
Bottom line: This game will decide whom the final roster cuts will be for both teams, and whom the coaching staffs feel is NFL-ready.
Arizona will wrap up their 2012 preseason schedule Thursday against the Denver Broncos.
The Arizona Cardinals head coach went on The Doug and Wolf Show and said that, while he wants to get a good look at the offensive line, there wouldn't be enough opportunities for a fair assessment of both Kolb and Skelton. Whisenhunt also wants to give third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley a chance to work with the first team, though he again cautioned that Lindley is not in position to start the regular season opener.
Per the transcript at Sports Radio Interviews:
"The thinking with Ryan Lindley is going into this game I don't know how much of our offensive line is going to play. Obviously we want to put D'Anthony Batiste in at left tackle, Bobby Massie at right tackle because that stabilized us at Tennessee last week and we want to see it to start the game. I don't know if we are going to get enough snaps to evenly divide between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, so how are you going to assess them playing a game when they are playing with two different lines against possibly two different sets of defenses?"
With all the offensive line struggles for Arizona, it's fair to give one last, short look while piecing that group together. The Cardinals, after all, have the luxury of playing their fifth preseason game, giving them more time than most to get repetitions at game speed.
But Whisenhunt won't risk injury or further analysis by outsiders regarding his quarterback situation, which he said will be decided in the remaining team practices.
Losing LT Levi Brown for the season as impacted the entire offensive line for the Cardinals.
The Arizona Cardinals are still trying to figure who to start at quarterback, but at least head coach Ken Whisenhunt is getting his offensive line figured out. Whisenhunt indicated on Tuesday that D'Anthony Batiste and Bobby Massie will be the starting tackles for Arizona's final preseason game against the Denver Broncos, according to azcardinals.com.
Whisenhunt liked what he saw from the two tackles against the Tennessee Titans, and that influenced his decision.
"The line did a nice job once we got stabilized after the start in Tennessee – ran the ball very well, protected it well," Whisenhunt said. "We’ve got to see if we can carry it forward."
Batiste is in his seventh season. He has four career starts in 22 games. Massie is a rookie out of Ole Miss. He was drafted by the Cardinals in the 4th round.
The decision to start Lindley comes as the Cardinals are still looking for a resolution to their search for a starting quarterback. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has said that the decision on who will start Week 1 between John Skelton and Kevin Kolb has yet to be made and will be determined in practice.
"As far as evaluation of the quarterbacks, in trying to make it a level playing field as for the number of reps and who they're playing against, I don't know how much that would serve with John or Kevin out of this game," said Whisenhunt.
Neither Skelton nor Kolb is expected to make an appearance in the final game, as Denver will likely withhold most of its starters from the contest. Though there has been a lot of speculation on who the frontrunner is, there has been no official word from the coaching staff as to who will win the job.
For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge of the Birds.
Arizona quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and John Skelton will each be held out of the team's fifth preseason game, according to reports.
The Arizona Cardinals have been pretty fortunate -- with the exception of a season-ending torn triceps to offensive tackle Levi Brown -- with regards to injuries so far in the preseason. Brown was place on injured reserve Friday and his season is over.
Running back Beanie Wells is being watched closely after having knee surgery, and Wells has looked fine despite limited carries in the preseason. The big concern for the Cardinals continues to be quarterback and offensive line play with only one more preseason game before the regular season starts.
There were a number of players held out of Thursday's game at Tennessee due to injuries. One was tight end Rob Housler, who is dealing with a hamstring injury.
Get more Cardinals coverage at Revenge of the Birds.
Ken Whisenhunt talks about his team the day after the loss to the Titans.
The Arizona Cardinals waived 12 players from the team today, getting a head start on the looming roster cuts.
NFL teams have to trim roster size from 90 to 75 by next Monday, August 27. None of the players cut were of any surprise.
The Cardinals waived the following players from the team:
In addition, the Cardinals also placed reserve tackle Levi Brown on the injured reserve list, ending his season after he tore his triceps during an exhibition win against the Raiders.
The entire roster must be cut down to 53 players by August 31, the day after the Cardinals close out their preseason with an exhibition game against the Denver Broncos.
For more on the Arizona Cardinals preseason, head over to Revenge of the Birds to join the discussion.