If you want to take your eyes off the ball for a couple of plays Saturday night when the Chargers come to town, look for these guys:
Last week, RG Jonathan Cooper was able to stay healthy and show some improving fundamentals in pass protection and run blocking. On the defensive side of the ball, CB Patrick Peterson showed all the physical skills that make him the highest-paid corner in the league, but wasn’t tested much.
Offense: John Brown, WR, #12
It’s possible that even without the grisly injury to Michael Floyd, John Brown would have become the Cardinals #2 wide receiver. Floyd needs to show that he can quickly escape the jam on the outside and be consistent with his hands on in- and out-breaking routes.
Defense: Kenny Demens, ILB, #54
The Cardinals inside linebacker position is a mess. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Lorenzo Alexander moved back
inside to at least increase the talent level with some NFL athletes. Demens needs to show that he’s more than a special-teams player.
Against the Chiefs, Earl Watford showed that he has the power, quickness and fundamentals to be an effective swing tackle and guard. OLB Markus Golden continued to show that he has the physical skills to contribute in this defense.
Offense: Chris Johnson, RB, #27
Admit it, this is the guy you’re going to be watching. It’s no use fighting it. Johnson needs to show that he can do more than try and work the ball to the outside. Watch to see if he can find seams off either side of the tackle’s hip.
Defense: Deone Bucannon, S, #20
It’s starting to feel less and less likely that Daryl Washington is going to be available to the Cards in 2015, which means that Bucannon’s regular-season snaps will be at ILB. Watch to see how he’s playing in space.
Last week, Logan Thomas looked enough like an adequate 3rd quarterback that people are no longer calling for his immediate release. So, good job there. DT Rodney Gunter showed the physical skills that made him a very big fish in a very small pond.
Offense: Whoever is playing tight end, #80-89
Is Troy Niklas the third-team TE? Is Jermaine Gresham? Is Momah? Fells? Who knows? Someone is going to play tight end with the third team, and they have as good a chance as anyone to be the opening-day starter.
Defense: Matt Shaugnessy, OLB, #91
Ron Wolfley said on his radio show Wednesday that more than four current Cards would end up playing elsewhere after getting cut or traded. Shaugnessy could easily rank on that list. He hasn’t flashed much as an OLB in camp or against KC.