Players to watch in Cardinals' preseason opener vs. Bengals




 

The Arizona Cardinals open the preseason Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Arizona time, taking on the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. Almost no starters are expected to play.

With no starters, it gives opportunities to younger and unproven players to make an impact and improve their chances of making the final roster.

In tonight's game, who are the players to watch and why?

There are a bunch.

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QB Trace McSorley

 

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

McSorley gets the start at quarterback. He is battling not only to be the No. 3 quarterback but to be on the 53-man roster. Kliff Kingsbury has been complimentary of him and now he gets to show what he can do at game speed in this offense.

RB Eno Benjamin

 

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Benjamin has been the talk of the offseason, receiving regular praise from Kingsbury. He has always been dynamic with the ball in his hands. Now he has learned the other parts of being an NFL running back, prepares like a professional and is a hard worker in practice. Can he carry that to a game scenario?

RB Keaontay Ingram

 

Ingram has flashed some in practice in training camp. As he will go against second and third-stringers in the preseason game, there is a good chance he looks really good.

WR Andy Isabella

 

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

With DeAndre Hopkins' coming suspension and Antoine Wesley's injury, Isabella suddenly has a shot at the roster. After missing most of both preseasons he has been a part of, he finally will have the opportunity to show what he can do. Will he capitalize on the opportunity?

OL Josh Jones, Josh Miles

 

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Jones and Miles will handle most of the tackle reps in the preseason. Jones is the leader to be the backup swing tackle, but Miles has grown a lot in three seasons. Since Jones is supposed to be a starter next year, it will be important to see him handle his business without help.

OL Lecitus Smith

 

(AP Photo)

Smith, a rookie, is on the list for a different reason. He is learning the center position. The team is very optimistic about his potential there. But we want to see how well he handles the position in a game.

OLB Dennis Gardeck

 

Gardeck has the opportunity to play a more full-time role at outside linebacker. This is the first time he has played in a preseason game at the position. Last year, he was coming off a torn ACL and then in 2020, the first year on the edge, there was no preseason. Can he show some of what he did in 93 defensive snaps in the 2020 regular season?

OLB Myjai Sanders, Cameron Thomas

 

Sanders has flashed in practice. Thomas is learning how to play from a two-point stance. Both are third-round rookies who can hopefully make an impact with their pass rushing this season. They need to show some in the preseason.

CB Marco Wilson

 

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Wilson ended up being an every-down starter as a rookie and had ups and downs, as expected.

He has not gotten the praise other players have from Kingsbury and is in the mix for the starting job, but he is not a lock for it. He needs to look good.

CB Josh Jackson

 

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As the only other corner with significant history starting games, Jackson playing well would go a long way to making fans feel comfortable about the situation at cornerback heading into the season.

LB Zaven Collins

 

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 first-round pick needs to get game experience and show he can handle the middle of the defense.

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Story originally appeared on Cards Wire

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