ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals notes: Brandon Williams shines in loss to Bears

Aug 20, 2017, 12:35 AM | Updated: 9:16 am
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Brandon Williams (26) breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide...
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Brandon Williams (26) breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Tanner Gentry (19) during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Three weeks into the preseason, Brandon Williams is starting to look like an NFL cornerback.

The second-year pro and third-year defensive back had a pair of passes defended, drew an offensive pass interference penalty, had five tackles and no significant errors in a 24-23, preseason loss to the Chicago Bears on Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Despite that performance, Williams was stuck on the one play he didn’t make: a missed interception early in the fourth quarter when he stepped in front of receiver Titus Davis but bobbled the throw from quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

“My game didn’t go that good because I dropped the pick,” he said. “I set the bar so high for myself so when I don’t make a play like that it messes up the whole game. In my eyes, the game wasn’t that good but next week, it’ll be better. I promise you that.”

Williams struggled so much early in camp that the competition for the starting cornerback spot opposite Patrick Peterson has been all but won by Justin Bethel. With Brandon Williams and Tramon Williams settling in as depth players, however, the Cardinals cornerback position — one of the biggest training camp question marks — appears to have stabilized.

“I wish he had got that pick again because that would have really boosted his confidence,” coach Bruce Arians said of Williams. “But he played really well.”

KICK-6

Saturday’s game featured a handful of rare special teams plays. On the plus side, Phil Dawson made a 52-yard field goal and the Cardinals recovered an onside kick late in the game to give themselves a chance at a win, before QB Blaine Gabbert missed a wide open Jeremy Ross on a two-point conversion attempt.

On the downside, Dawson’s 63-yard attempt was wide right and short, allowing Bears return man Deonte Thompson to field it in the end zone and return it 109 yards for a touchdown.

“After realizing I didn’t make the kick and being upset about that, believe or not, we all have coverage responsibilities,” Dawson said. “From what I could tell, our guys knew what to do. The Bears knew what to do, too. Let’s be honest when you have a kicker and a punter and a bunch of offensive linemen running down there, that’s kind of a mismatch in regards to coverage.”

Dawson can’t remember ever being in a scenario like before. Former Cardinals kicker Jay Feely can.

ROUGH NIGHT FOR INSIDE LINEBACKERS

Top draft pick Haason Reddick and Scooby Wright had rough nights tackling in Arians’ postgame evaluation. Nether is expected to start, but with Karlos Dansby nursing a leg injury and Deone Bucannon on the PUP list after offseason surgery, they were thrown into the fire against Chicago with poor results.

The Bears managed 76 rushing yards in the first half, including four runs of nine or more yards.

“You don’t want to see anybody making 10, 15-yard runs against any of our defenses, but especially our No. 1s,” said Arians, who can’t wait for his starters to return. “I hope to hell they get healthy. I would be concerned if we’re playing with the group we had tonight.”

RECEIVERS REDUX

Arians called out his receivers this week, noting that back in the spring he thought the room was stacked with talent, but after watching camp practice, that number had dwindled.

“I must have been seeing things back in the spring when I said we had 12 guys that could play in the NFL,” he said. “I think we might have two, but we’ll look around and see who’s available.”

While there were some positives on Saturday, the group didn’t exactly impress. Larry Fitzgerald and Jaron Brown barely played, and John Brown sat out again with a quadriceps injury, limiting the evaluation possibilities.

The other receivers accounted for just 16 catches, 149 yards and a TD, and Chris Hubert lost a catch that became an interception.

When asked if he liked the group’s response to his criticism, Arians said: “Yes and no. Little Smoke (Hubert) was having a hell of a game to give up that interception there.”

KNOWING THE SITUATION

Arians when asked if ever considered kicking the extra point after the Cardinals pulled within 24-23 with five seconds left, rather than going for two points and the win: “No way. That’s against all rules of preseason football.”

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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton is sacked by Chicago Bears defensive end Jonathan Bullard, bottom, and outside linebacker Sam Acho, left, during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Chicago Bears wide receiver Deonte Thompson (14) celebrates his touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho (93) celebrates a sack against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson (4) attempts a field goal as punter Matt Wile (6) holds during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Bears recovered the missed field goal and ran it back for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert (7) celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Chris Hubert (81) pulls in a catch as Chicago Bears cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc (22) defends during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears running back Benny Cunningham is up-ended by Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (90) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert (7) celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert (7) runs in for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Chicago Bears kicker Roberto Agayo (1) reacts to missing a field goal as Arizona Cardinals free safety Harlan Miller (34) celebrates during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) is sacked by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Alex Bazzie, right, and linebacker Tre'Von Johnson (51) during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Brandon Williams (26) breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Tanner Gentry (19) during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) is sacked by Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Olsen Pierre (72) during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Chicago Bears running back Benny Cunningham (26) celebrates his touchdown with tight end Adam Shaheen (87) during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Chicago Bears running back Benny Cunningham (26) celebrates his touchdown with tight end Adam Shaheen (87) during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) greets Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) after an preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Bears won 24-23. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) greets Chicago Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho (93) after an preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Bears won 24-23. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) tosses hit cap to fans after a preseason NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Bears won 24-23. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, left, greets Chicago Bears head coach John Fox after an preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Bears won 24-23. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jeremy Ross (15) celebrates his touchdown during the second half of a preseason NFL football game with wide receiver Chad Williams (16), Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Bears won 24-23. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) warms up prior to a preseason NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) warms up prior to a preseason NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, left, and Chicago Bears head coach John Fox talks prior to a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears punt returner Benny Cunningham run as Arizona Cardinals punter Richie Leone (9) and cornerback Brandon Williams (26) reach for the tackle during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Chicago Bears during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears kicker Connor Barth (4) kicks a field goal against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears kicker Connor Barth (4) and punter Pat O'Donnell (16) celebrate a field goal as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) gets up during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears running back Ka'Deem Carey (25) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears kicker Connor Barth (4) kicks a field goal as punter Pat O'Donnell (16) holds against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Arizona Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Arizona Cardinals running back Kerwynn Williams (33) is hit by Chicago Bears tight end MyCole Pruitt (83) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) bobbles his interception as Chicago Bears wide receiver Cameron Meredith (81) pursues during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals maintained possession of the football. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) intercepts a pass against the Chicago Bears during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears running back Benny Cunningham (26) is knocked out of bounds by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaviar Gooden (52) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jeremy Ross (15) makes a catch for a first down as Chicago Bears defensive back Marcuss Cooper (25) defends during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (23) is hit by Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throw under pressure against the Chicago Bears during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) celebrates his interception against the Chicago Bears during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Chicago Bears tight end Dion Sims (88) is hit by Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Scooby Wright, left, during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) Chicago Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright (13) scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (36) defends during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright (13) celebrates his touchdown with tight end Daniel Brown (85) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Chicago Bears wide receiver Deonte Thompson (14) runs back a missed field goal for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals punter Matt Wile (6) defends during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians watches during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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