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Cardinals’ ugly showing makes it hard to remember ‘it’s only preseason’

Wide receiver Rico Gafford #10 of the Oakland Raiders scores a 53 yard touchdown reception ahead of cornerback Deatrick Nichols #28 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of the NFL preseason game at State Farm Stadium on August 15, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Welcome to the Valley of the Sun.

Home of blistering 118-degree August temperatures.

Home of Cactus League baseball.

Oh, and home to some of the most reactionary football fans on Planet Earth.

There’s no sugar-coating it, Thursday night’s effort (and I use that term loosely) by the Arizona Cardinals was ugly from every angle you looked at it — especially when the starters were on the field.

But losing badly to the Oakland Raiders on a Thursday night in August is not the indicator of how Kliff Kingsbury’s team will fare in 2019.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the Cardinals will be anywhere close to a playoff contender this year. There are just too many areas of concern on this roster right now. In fact, in terms of record, I think Arizona will show a small improvement over the tire fire that was 2018’s mark.

But I’m also convinced the “real” product starting in September won’t resemble this.

I’m a pessimist by nature, but even I couldn’t believe some of the (over)reaction that popped up on my Twitter feed during the contest.

There was the “changes need to be made on the coaching staff” crowd:

There was a large contingent forming the “it’s never too early to give up on the future quarterback” crowd:

Some support for the “what are these guys so happy about” group:

And there was even the “I give up” sect:

I get it, I think. Football conjures the most extreme emotions from fans. Last week, many at State Farm Stadium were wondering if Kyler Murray would ever throw a legitimate incompletion. Seven days later, I wouldn’t be surprised if members of the lunatic fringe are burning his jersey in a parking lot (or at least putting it up for sale on eBay.)

It’s too early for any of it.

Let me put it this way … while Arizona’s quarterback of the future was struggling, former Cardinal Mike Glennon posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 on the night. He hasn’t had a triple-digit rating for a single game in a start since 2013. His replacement, Nathan Peterman, who famously threw five interceptions in his first NFL start, and has a 3-to-12 career touchdown-to-interception ratio, went 8-for-8.

I’m more than willing to say none of the above three trends will continue.

In other words, wake me up when August ends.


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