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A Test, More Vets(?), And Friday Before The Chiefs

Jonathan Gannon, Nick Rallis, Kyzir White and Zach Pascal get to see the Chiefs again at State Farm Stadium. It wasn't that long ago when they did that before, in the Super Bowl when the four of them were with the Eagles and the Chiefs prevailed in a hard loss for Philly. Gannon was hired as Cardinals coach a few days later, and the others came in time.

"It's just another game," Rallis said. "There's no connection for me to go back to the Super Bowl."

I believe that's true for all of them. The Cardinals are hip-deep in trying to create something new in Arizona, of which all the ex-Eagles are a part of. It's more pressing to see if White -- one of the healthy scratches in the preseason opener -- gets some snaps. Or how the Cardinals handle the Chiefs.

K.C. coach Andy Reid said he plans to play his starters the first half, and while we won't necessarily see QB Patrick Mahomes that long, the Cardinals will see Mahomes -- a quality test after the way the Cardinals defense pleasantly surprised in their first game.

"Do I enjoy good competition? Absolutely," Rallis said. "It's a phenomenal offense, one of the best quarterbacks in the game. You'll find out how high of a level you can compete."

We will see how it actually plays out, but after a "regular-season" week of practice and the ability to have two joint practices with the Vikings in Minnesota next week before the preseason finale, this game makes a lot of sense as the real tune-up for key players.

-- Besides White, the other healthy players who didn't play last week were D.J. Humphries, Budda Baker and James Conner. If they are going to play in a preseason game, this one makes sense.

-- Earlier in the week, offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said after calling plays from the sideline against the Broncos, he is going to see what it is like to do it from the booth against the Chiefs. Petzing said he wants to make an "educated" decision on where he will station himself in the regular season. Rallis, on the other hand, is going to be on the sideline for a second straight game and seems comfortable being there -- which is a change in mindset since he was a linebackers coach.

"I had one season when I was on the field, and that was 2021 in Philadelphia," Rallis said. "To be honest, I didn't like it. When you are coaching a position, you are responsible to sub your guys in and out. When you are subbing guys in and out, you have to stand somewhere within the (first-down) sticks. At that angle, close to the line of scrimmage, it's hard to see run game, and not as easy to see protections and it's not as easy to see routes.

"My plan was to give down on the field another try, because I had gone back into the booth in 2022. I was going to do a game on the sideline, stand a little bit further back, see if I could see what I needed to see and if it didn't work out, I was going to try going back to the booth. I actually really liked it. There is value to being on the sideline where I can communicate with the players face to face and with Jonathan (Gannon) face to face,"

-- Assuming the Cardinals' starters play a little bit more than the first game (one series) makes sense, but what also makes sense is that rookie QB Clayton Tune will continue to get a lot of reps during the game. Gannon is not a guy who doles out much individual praise, especially right now when he wants every player to fight for a job. But Tune has to be doing something right to be running second team and getting as much work as he is and his spot on the depth chart when the season begins will continue to be one of the stories to watch.

-- At some point, the secondary has to sort itself out but that is one area that I fully expect to be under the coaches' glare this game, next week in the Vikings' practices and the Vikings' game. Someone will have to win jobs, but who?

-- Same at No. 2 running back. It looked like Keaontay Ingram was back practicing this week and he needs to get some game action.

-- Hopefully tight end Trey McBride will also get some game action after so much missed time. I do not expect tight end Zach Ertz to play in either of the final two preseason games. Getting him healthy when the games count is the goal.

-- Humphries, always a good quote, was asked this week who the "meanest" offensive lineman was on the Cardinals.

"Obviously me, Don't let the smile fool you," Hump said (and to be honest, there have been times when you can make the case with how Hump's switch is flipped on the field. I've seen it.)

"Probably Will (Hernandez) or big Mo (Hayes). Paris .(Johnson) definitely has a little a-hole in him. He'll take you to the ground and lay on you a little bit. Love seeing that too. And that's his nature too. It's not like we had to jazz him up to do that. That's who he is. One phrase I used to love from (Bruce Arians), 'I'd rather say whoa than sic 'em.' That's Paris and Mo. They are both whoa guys."

See you Saturday.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Clayton Tune (15) during the 2023 preseason game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos on Friday, Aug 11, 2023 in Glendale, AZ.