Cardinals Easily Put Away Broncos To End Preseason 2-2

The Arizona Cardinals finish the preseason with a dominating performance over the Denver Broncos.

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Arizona Cardinals Dominate Denver Broncos To Close Preseason

If there's another word for what happened Thursday night in Glendale, AZ at the University of Phoenix Stadium other than "dominate" we don't know what it is. The Arizona Cardinals controlled every aspect of this game from the opening kick and beat the Denver Broncos 26-7 to close out the 2011 NFL preseason.

With Kevin Kolb only playing one quick series, it was backup QB Richard Bartel who moved the ball for 216 yards (12-16) and two touch downs in just under a half of work. On the game the Cardinals offense totaled 398 yards and 19 first downs.

Defensively, the Cardinals were even more impressive. They held the Broncos to just 106 total yards and forced two turnovers before a couple of late drives inflated the numbers. 

"They did well," Coach Ken Whisenhunt said at half time. "Guys stepped up and made plays. It's a good things to see. It's been like that for us throughout preseason, and it's good to see some of our guys that haven't had a lot of reps in games do that. It's helping build a strong team going into the season."

It's difficult in a game like this to judge performances but it seemed the newly acquired cornerback Fred Bennett played well up until he got burned for a touchdown in single coverage last in the fourth quarter. Prior to that he broke up several passing plays. Rich Bartel went a long way to solidify the backup QB role over the injured John Skelton.

Chasni Stuckey (99 yards, 4 rec, 1 TD) and Stephen Williams (37 yards, 3 rec) caught the ball well. Backup to the backup's backup Williams Powell ran the ball the majority of the game with Alfonso Smith (hamstring) unable to go. Powell finished with 29 carries for 60 yards.

Arizona had just four penalties for the game including three on the offensive end. 

The Cardinals suffered one injury of note in this game, a reported pectoral strain to tight end Jim Dray. The Broncos took a few more hits that could prove costly.

With the win, the Cardinals finish the preseason 2-2 although the first unit played very well in both losses which came against top tier NFL talent. It's only the preseason, but it's hard to consider these past four games anything but a success outside of the two season-ending injuries (Ryan Williams and Greg Toler) suffered by the team.

For more on the Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.


Arizona Cardinals Vs. Denver Broncos: Injuries Galore In First Half

The fourth NFL preseason game is a time to evaluate players on the fringe of making the roster and keeping your key guys healthy. In the first half of the Arizona Cardinals vs. Denver Broncos both sides took blows to that play with the visiting AFC team getting the worst of it.

Bronco's cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson went down early in the game with a reported Achilles tendon strain. He's listed on the depth charts as a second string player. Denver also lost wide receiver Britt Davis to a head injury after he was hit by Cardinals safety Hamza Abdullah while attempting a catch. Abdullah was whistled for a personal foul on the play. 

ILB Nate Irving, listed as a third string player, went down in the second quarter after a teammate fell on him from behind. The injury was reported as a "chest injury" but he was down for some time and seemed disoriented after he finally stood.

For the Cardinals, running back Alfonso Smith's hamstring is apparently preventing him from getting a shot to show hit stuff. He's not been in the game at all. Wide receiver Sean Jeffcoat left the game with a shoulder injury and tight end Jim Dray went to the locker room with a reported pectoral strain. Dray was battling with Stephen Spach for a possible roster spot so this injury, depending on severity, could impact his future.

With the second half underway, both sides are hoping for a clean second half with no additional injuries.


Arizona Cardinals Vs. Denver Broncos Half Time Update: Cards Dominate, 20-0

The Arizona Cardinals got just three yards of offense from starting quarterback Kevin Kolb who's first and only series of the game lasted just four plays, including the punt. But in this fourth preseason game, the starters aren't the focus. This is all about the reserves and the backups to the reserves and those guys ran roughshod over the Denver Broncos to take a 20-0 half time lead.

Richard Bartel led the Cardinals on multiple long drives and totaled an impressive 216 yards on 12-16 passing. He had two touchdowns and one interception. Chansi Stuckey was a prime target with four catches for 99 yards including a 48-yard TD catch. LaRod Stephens Howling scored the other TD with a short pass that he broke for a 19-yard score.

Jay Feely added six more points with his foot.

Defensively, the Cardinals stuffed the Broncos to the tune of just 46 total yards and three first downs. The Cardinals recovered a fumble after a corner blitz by Marshay Green jarred the ball loose from Brady Quinn. Stewart Bradley recorded an interception near the end of the half as well.

The 20-0 Cardinals lead doesn't do the game justice. Denver simply has not shown up to play.


Arizona Cardinals Vs. Denver Broncos Injury Updates: John Skelton And DeMarco Sampson Can't Go

The Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos are set to kick off their fourth and final game of the NFL preseason. Both teams have announced their "not expected to play" lists of injured or otherwise unavailable players.

For the Cardinals, backup quarterback John Skelton still hasn't recovered sufficiently from a high ankle sprain suffered in the second preseason game in Green Bay. He's been unable to play since which has opened the door for Rich Bartel to move up the depth chart and possibly start the season as the number two QB. Bartel and fourth string QB Brodie Croyle are expected to get the majority of reps in this game with Kolb playing just a few early series.

Rookie wide receiver DeMarco Sampson impressed in camp and in his first two preseason games but is once again unable to go due to a hamstring issue suffered in practice. Sampson probably won't be hurt by the injury as he's still considered likely to make the roster.

Safety Adrian Wilson (Bicep) and cornerback Mike Adams (knee) also won't play.

The Denver Broncos listed three defensive linemen as "not expected to play". Starter Brodrick Bunkey is out along with backup Marcus Thomas and deep depth guy Ty Warren. Starting linebacker D.J Williams is also out along with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas who is listed way down the depth chart.

For more Cardinals discussion, visit Revenge of the Birds.


NFL Roster Deadline: Predictions For Cardinals Final 53-Man Roster

The Arizona Cardinals will use their final preseason game to evaluate several players on the bubble of making the final cut down to the NFL mandated 53-man roster. The deadline is Saturday, September 3 but we expect the decisions to be made on Friday after the game against Denver.

We've identified two key battles to watch during Thursday's game. The final linebacker job could come down to Quan Sturdivant and Reggie Walker and the last cornerback job could be between Marshay Green and Fred Bennett. A couple of other guys to keep an eye on include WR Stephen Williams, OL Floyd Womack and the battle between FB Anthony Sherman and Reagan Maui'a although we think both will eventually make the team.

We've gone through each position group in detail, now here's our final predictions for the Arizona Cardinals 2011 53-man roster. Obviously, the roster is a living thing and will change throughout the year but it's got to start somewhere and here's what we think it will look like.

Quarterback (Three)

This one's pretty simple. Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Rich Bartel will make the roster. Skelton and Bartel could flip back and forth between the backup job but the ankle injury to Skelton will likely give Bartel the edge to start the season.

Running back (Three)

Beanie Wells is obviously the main man in the backfield for the Cardinals. LaRod Stephens-Howling will make the team and Alfonso Smith should make the roster as well unless the team isn't pleased with his performance in Thursday's final preseason game and/or a better option for a backup become available.

Fullback (Two)

The battle between Reagan Maui'a and Anthony Sherman is too close to call. The team is more committed to running the ball this season and either of these guys is unlikely to clear waivers if cut. Look for both to make the roster.

Wide receiver (Six)

Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, Andre Roberts are locks. DeMarco Sampson, Stephen Williams and veteran Chansi Stuckey will likely get the last two spots. If the team decides to carry a fourth running back or an extra offensive lineman they could drop Williams and go with five wides. The strength and depth at tight end lets the Cardinals save a spot here but it could go either way.

Tight End (Four)

With Todd Heap, Jeff King and Rob Housler all but assured roster spots, the final decision will come down to Jim Dray and Stephen Spach. Dray is more versatile and therefore more likely to make the cut. It is possible that Spach makes the team as well in place of wide receiver Stephen Williams. It's unlikely, but possible.

Cornerback (Five)

The loss of Greg Toler has hurt the depth here and moved Al Jefferson, Patrick Peterson and Richard Marshall into the top spots. Michael Adams is reported to be returning from injury soon so he should make the team. The final spot should go to newly signed Fred Bennett but Marshay Green could possibly win the job as well. The battle between Green and Bennett could come down to the wire.

Safety (Five)

Veterans Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes will have a lot of work keeping the young cornerbacks playing right. Hamza Abdullah and Rashad Johnson provide depth with Matt Ware making up the final spot. Ware's spot, however, is far from secure.

Defensive Line (Six)

The defensive line looks solid with Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell providing talent and experience on the outside while Dan Williams and David Carter could share time at tackle. Behind those four, veterans Vonnie Holiday and Nick Eason provide solid depth.

Linebackers (Eight)

Linebacker is another strong position on the defense. Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington should start with Sam Acho, O'Brien Schofield and Stewart Bradley all providing dynamic options off the bench. The final spot comes down to rookie Quan Sturdivant and three-year pro Reggie Walker. The is another battle that could come down to a final tough decision.

Offensive Line (Eight)

The starting five seems set with Levi Brown (LT), Daryn College (LG), Lyle Sendlein (C), Rex Hadnot (RG) and Brandon Keith (RT). Duece Lutui, Jeremy Bridges and Ben Claxton should fill out the position but it's very possible that Floyd Womack also makes the team and takes a spot from either a wide receiver or even one of the fullbacks.

Special Teams (Three)

Long snapper Mich Leach, kicker Jay Feely and punter Ben Graham round out the 53-man roster. No surprises here.

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