The Arizona Cardinals found early success in the 2014 preseason with a blowout win, to then stumble with three close losses to end the exhibitions.
Although the 1-3 record could give some insight into the regular season, the preseason games mean far more when it comes to statistics and individual performances.
Rookies like John Brown and Deone Bucannon showed some promise that could make them stars in Arizona. Others, like Logan Thomas, showed the need for time and development before they could take over their positions.
Attempting to build off of a season that saw them join the best in the league, the defense found some possible issues to be fixed in order to maintain their intimidating style of play.
Take a look at some of the numbers in the Cardinals’ up and down preseason:
In 2013, the Cardinals built a name on defense with swarming pressure that forced constant mistakes from opponents and averaged 2.9 sacks per game. The defense was far kinder to opponents during this preseason, racking up only four sacks.
Chandler Catanzaro entered training camp as the rookie challenger to Jay Feely’s title as starting kicker, but thanks to seven made kicks in seven attempts, Catanzaro pulled away from Feely and earned the starting spot.
Looking for a breakout season from Cardinals running backs, the unit did not get off to a great start in the preseason, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. The team’s 79 rushing yards per game ranked 28th in the NFL provided little confidence beyond starter Andre Ellington, who averaged 4.5 yards per carry.
Rookie wide receiver John Brown wowed coaches and fans throughout training camp and he did not disappoint come game time. Brown led the team with 165 receiving yards during the preseason with 10 receptions and one touchdown.
Whether on offense or defense, the Cardinals dominated third down this preseason. The offense extended drives on 22 of 57 third down attempts, while the defense held opponents to a paltry 12 conversions on 50 attempts.
Drew Stanton showed how a veteran can place stake in his position as the backup quarterback with a 125.0 quarterback rating, throwing for three touchdowns and 341 yards.
While Stanton showed his prowess in playing behind starter Carson Palmer, rookie quarterback Logan Thomas showed a need for development if he wants to be the Cardinals’ future at the position. Thomas finished the preseason with a 57.0 quarterback rating, throwing for two interceptions and getting sacked six times.
Cardinals first round pick Deone Bucannon made his presence known throughout the preseason with his team-leading 23 tackles.
The Cardinals’ three losses this preseason combined to equal a tight 11 points, showing the young team’s ability to stay in the game for three quarters, while not making enough of the crucial plays on both sides of the ball at the end of the game.
The Cardinals maintained one of the stingiest defenses in 2013, only allowing 4.9 yards per play to opponents. That number moved to the middle of the pack during the preseason, as the team surrendered 5.4 yards per play.