After Red-White Practice: Who Plays -- And Who Doesn't -- In Preseason

The Red-White practice Saturday wasn't a preseason game, although there was some real tackling for the back end of the roster. Preseason games are coming quickly though -- the Cards will host the Chargers Thursday in their opener.

Who exactly coach Kliff Kingsbury will put on the field is another question.

Rookie QB Kyler Murray is going to play. He said it himself the other day and Kingsbury confirmed that before practice Saturday. "The goal is for him to get him out of the game feeling good, whatever that takes," Kingsbury said. "If it's three plays, it'll be three plays, if it is 10 or 12 plays, it'll be 12. We'll just figure that out as the game is going."

The starting offensive line will play more than that, so they can also get some snaps with backup QB Brett Hundley. Now, running back David Johnson? That's a different situation.

"Great question," Kingsbury said. "We're all working through that. Want to make sure by Game One he's at his peak, so whatever it takes to do that."

So maybe Johnson doesn't play in the preseason. Does Larry Fitzgerald? Terrell Suggs? And at this point, does Kingsbury have a general philosophy when it comes to important players getting reps in preseason games?

"As a staff we'll have a philosophy," Kingsbury said. "It'll be case-by-case and how we feel about certain players. If we feel they need work, they'll get work. If we don't, they won't. The trend throughout the league seems to be less of the name players, so to speak, playing, and I could see it continuing to go that way."

-- Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will work from the sidelines during games, Kingsbury said.

-- Kingsbury paused briefly after he was asked how unofficial the initial unofficial depth chart is after it was released Friday. "It's unofficial." That's no surprise. For instance, Kevin White is listed as a starting wide receiver with Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald, but at this point, I don't think White is ahead of any of the other guys he's battling for a spot.

As for the Red-White practice:

-- The Cardinals opened the workout with a dress rehearsal of pregame, including coming out of the tunnel and the flames that accompany it. “Nobody wants to get out there on the first preseason game and look like a bunch of slappies running into each other," tackle D.J. Humphries said.

-- Quarterback Kyler Murray looked pretty sharp in a practice that was, after individual drills, a series of "drives" starting at the offense's 25-yard line. Murray directed the first-team offense for a touchdown against the second-unit defense on the first try, mixing in a zone-read keeper and another scramble for 29 total yards before eventually hitting Kevin White on a 3-yard slant for a TD.

-- Murray's stats (and usually I am loathe to stat up a practice with no tackling, but ...) were 12-for-15, no picks, the TD and a "game-winning" field-goal drive, setting up Zane Gonzalez's 45-yarder with one second left on the clock. Murray also threaded a pair of passes that were *chef's kiss* good, hitting Larry Fitzgerald on a 17-yard pass just beyond the reach of a defender and then hitting tight end Ricky Seals-Jones on a seam pass for 30 on second-and-12.

-- Mason Cole was all over the place. He got some work at center, but he also worked with the second unit at left tackle, with rookie Lamont Gaillard as second-team center. Cole also was used at first-team left guard after Justin Pugh came out. No report if Cole was just getting work, or if something injury-wise happened to Pugh.

-- Linebacker Pete Robertson left practice a little early. It was difficult to tell what his ailment was, but when a fan yelled if he was OK, Robertson gave a thumbs-up.

-- Gonzalez capped his day with that "in-game" field goal, although he hit a rough patch during a nine-field-goal special teams session. Gonzalez made his first five but missed three of his final four in that stretch.

-- T.J. Logan broke off a 66-yard probable TD run with the second unit offense against the starting defense, although cornerback Patrick Peterson sprinted with Logan and, had tackling been allowed, it would have been interesting inside the 10 to see if Peterson could've dragged him down.

-- The Cardinals announced that the attendance at State Farm Stadium was about 20,000. The Cardinals are off Sunday and resume practice Monday.

WR Hakeem Butler makes the catch against cornerback Nate Brooks at the Red-White practice.
WR Hakeem Butler makes the catch against cornerback Nate Brooks at the Red-White practice.

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