The Cardinals’ preseason game on Thursday against the Denver Broncos wasn’t exactly a preview of the regular-season matchup that will come this October. The Cardinals lost 21-10, finishing the preseason 3-1, but both teams sat a majority of their starters.
For those on the back-end of the roster, the game didn’t feel meaningless. The added reps on Thursday could give them the separation they need as the Cardinals pare down the 53-man roster.
Notably, quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen both sat. Six-year veteran Mike Glennon took all the snaps in the first half, finishing 8-of-10 for 69 yards and one touchdown.
After that, coach Steve Wilks handed over the reins to Charles Kanoff, an undrafted rookie out of Princeton. Kanoff finished 3-of-11 for 42 yards.
The Cardinals sat their four top draft picks from 2018: Rosen, wide receiver Christian Kirk, center Mason Cole and running back Chase Edmonds.
Backup center Daniel Munyer used his added reps to redeem himself. During the Cardinals’ preseason opener, a number of Munyer’s snaps were off, but Thursday he looked good to go.
Rotating in running backs
After D.J. Foster tore his ACL and MCL against Dallas, the Cardinals are even thinner at running back.
It wasn’t surprising when David Johnson sat out the preseason finale. But on top of that, the Cardinals were conservative with Edmonds and T.J. Logan as well, opting to rest both. Instead, rookie Sherman Badie got his chance.
Badie was also targeted as a receiver four times, but had just two catches for a net loss of two yards. He finished with 24 yards rushing on nine attempts.
Elijhaa Penny, who’s listed as the backup fullback, saw an increased load as well, playing both running back and fullback. He finished with 25 yards on eight attempts.
Safety Zeke Turner made an impact on the defensive side. He had 10 tackles and a seven-yard sack.
Veteran kicker Phil Dawson got a break in favor of Matt McCrane.
He wasn’t called upon often, but McCrane did have a 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. The rookie out of Kansas State also had a 53-yarder against Dallas on Sunday.
The Cardinals have rotated players in and out as Wilks searches for that final roster configuration, but they’ve found consistency in one statistic: takeaways. The Cardinals finished the night with one, bringing their preseason total to 17.
Those 17 takeaways match the total from the 2000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs went on to snag 41 takeaways in the regular season, proving their preseason mark wasn’t a fluke.
Though they wouldn’t match the eight takeaways they had against Dallas, the Cardinals defense made some noise early. Playing in place of Chandler Jones, defensive end Jacquies Smith intercepted Chad Kelly on the Broncos’ first drive. The Cardinals capitalized, as Glennon threw a two-yard touchdown to wide receiver Greg Little.
Rosen weighs in on radio
While Rosen didn’t see the field on Thursday night, he did get a chance to discuss his season. On Thursday morning, Rosen went on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel with host Adam Schein to discuss an array of topics in an 18-minute interview.
He started with the news: His thumb felt fine. Though it didn’t pan out that way, Rosen was still hoping to see some action later that night. After sitting against Dallas, he was anxious to get back in a live game.
“It’s tough to recreate those nerves, especially as a rookie,” Rosen said on-air. “I think every rep is valuable.”
When Schein asked if Rosen still thinks about how the draft shook out, the quarterback was honest.
“Yeah, I’ve got a memory,” Rosen said with a laugh.
From there, though, Rosen noted his balance in using it at motivation, but also letting his day-to-day operations propel him.
“I mean, I’m more motivated by what happens every day in this locker room, and on this team, but it’s always in the back of my head, these teams that kind of screwed it up. And I definitely won’t let them live it down when all is said and done,” he said. “I was frustrated and still am, but I don’t really need much external motivation.”