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With preseason wrapped, Cards’ Wilks feels team identity has been ‘solidified’

Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks, left, greets Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph after a preseason NFL football game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks was not thrilled after his team lost 21-10 to the Denver Broncos on Thursday night in the team’s preseason finale.

“Definitely wasn’t good enough tonight,” he said.

As far as players expected to make an impact in the regular season, the Cardinals didn’t have many of them on the field. Wide receiver Brice Butler was the most notable player on the offense and second-year linebacker Haason Reddick was on defense.

At quarterback, Mike Glennon started, meaning both Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen did not play.

That didn’t matter to Wilks, who suffered his first loss as an NFL coach.

“The expectations do not change, regardless of who is on the field,” he said.

Arizona failed to move the ball consistently on offense, totaling 162 yards on the night and only 10 first downs. The Cardinals’ defense wasn’t there to back them up, allowing 347 total yards to Denver.

With the shortcomings on the field Thursday night in mind, the progress on Wilks’ overall goal is still there.

“The identity has been solidified based off the things we’ve done in the past and that’s not gonna change,” he said.

That past started all the way back in mid-May.

“We came in in OTAs and he kind of kept mentioning exactly what he wanted to get out of us and what he expected from us and letting us know that the expectations aren’t gonna change,” cornerback Bene Benwikere said.

The good news is the Cardinals are not settling in the slightest, as Wilks’ mood reflected after the defeat.

“The one area of concern right there is continuing to be smart,” Wilks said. “The pre-snap and post-snap penalties — we can’t take that into the season and we gotta continue to be aggressive in trying to take the ball away and most importantly protect the football.”

Most importantly, the players share that same mentality with Wilks. They have seen the culture come together, but they know there is more development and growth needed in the future.

“I feel like we’ve kind of established our identity, but I feel like we can go way deeper,” wide receiver Chad Williams said. “We can be way more physical than we are, we’re much, much smarter than we’ve played. A few little mistakes and penalties on us sometimes, but I feel like we have taken great strides toward that.”

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