GLENDALE, Ariz. – A quick history lesson from Arizona Cardinals quarterback and professor Drew Stanton.
“I was in Detroit when we went 4-0 in the preseason and proceeded to go 0-16 in the regular season,” he said, referring to 2008, his second year in the NFL.
In other words, according to Stanton, let’s not draw huge conclusions on games that don’t count in the standings.
“The preseason is great, don’t get me wrong, it helps you build confidence and you work on different things,” he continued. “I think sometimes people get caught up in the records, and you want to win football games. Any time you step out on the field you want to put your best foot forward, but there’s also things we’re trying to accomplish, little areas that might not be visible that we’re getting better at and trying to get better communication in.”
While Stanton big-pictured the Cardinals’ recent offensive struggles through an 0-2 preseason — especially with the first team — he was also referring to his own.
Here in the preseason, Stanton has completed just 4-of-13 passes for 74 yards with two interceptions and one sack; certainly not the type of production once would expect from a player entering his 10th season in the league.
“I don’t really have any concern,” head coach Bruce Arians said, adding Stanton’s stat line is a result of mechanical issues. “It’s not like it happens every day. It happened a couple of times in the ballgame. It’s happened a couple of times in practice. It’s a pattern of sliding up (in the pocket), dropping your shoulder and the ball is going too high.
“You’ve got to throw the ball to second base, not center field. It’s just a matter of repetitive drill work.”
Stanton has played seven series totaling 30 snaps in the preseason, and it was with him under center when the Cardinals scored their one and only touchdown, a drive highlighted by a 32-yard pass to tight end Troy Niklas against Oakland.
Still, what Stanton and others remember are the two interceptions.
“The first one, thinking back to the Raiders game, I had no business trying to throw that ball. I tried to fit it into to J.B. (Jaron Brown). I’ve got a comfort level with J.B. because I’ve been working with him now for four years,” he said.
“The second interception in that game (in San Diego), I was thinking about trying to take the diagonal route or a flat route right to Jermaine (Gresham). The safety dropped in and I was thinking about trying to take that and then was just foolishly trying to come all the way back across the field and throw a bang-post that I didn’t really see and didn’t do it. That’s what B.A. was talking about. Got my body in a bad position to try and make a throw and unfortunately, it sailed on me.”
Again, mistakes that are all easily correctable.
For Stanton, the preseason isn’t about stats, individual or team. It’s about knocking off the rust and finding a comfort level with a game you haven’t played in more than seven month, at least against a different-colored uniform.
Stanton and the Cardinals visit Houston on Sunday, providing another opportunity to get ready for the regular season.
“You get a false sense of security sometimes when you’re out there in training camp because you’re not getting hit, so that’s why, I think, it’s important for us as quarterbacks to get hit a little bit, feel that, get that sense and get that comfort level back,” he said. “I think that was definitely accomplished last week. I did some things where I was seeing the field a lot better and just felt more comfortable walking away from that game last week.”