NEW ORLEANS – Steve Wilks had been looking for “separation” from his receivers, all of whom are battling for not only notches on the depth chart but roster spots, period.
The Cardinals’ coach might have seen some Friday night in his team’s 20-15 win over the Saints at the Mecedes-Benz Superdome. Rookie Christian Kirk made a fantastic 13-yard touchdown grab of a Josh Rosen pass among his four catches for 49 yards, while second-year wideout Chad Williams impressed with his three catches for 44 yards.
Did Wilks feel the duo created some separation?
“I definitely did,” Wilks said. “Those guys did a great job.”
Veteran Brice Butler (foot) did not play, leaving an opening. Williams took advantage early, notable after Wilks had pointed out a poor Wednesday practice to close camp. Wilks said Wednesday Williams had multiple drops, but that Williams would “catch everything” in the game. It proved true.
“That’s exactly how I felt,” Williams said, chuckling as he admitted he didn’t know what Wilks had said. “I can feel it from him. He holds us to such high accountability because he knows what we are capable of doing. … That’s a good thing having a coach like that. Love coach Wilks for that.”
Kirk’s connection with Rosen stood out, but he also proved to be a good target for starter Sam Bradford.
“Week-by-week and even since the start of camp I’ve grown so much,” Kirk said. “Last week getting on the field for the first time to tonight, I feel like I’ve made a good bit of progression.”
TURNOVERS COME IN BUNCHES
Wilks was not happy about his rushing defense, which allowed 183 yards, but he was pleased with a group that forced four turnovers for a second straight game. Defensive end Vontarrius Dora had a pair of fumble recoveries, while linebacker Haason Reddick and cornerback Bené Benwikere had interceptions.
The Cardinals actually could have had two more turnovers -- a strip on a sack by Jacquies Smith should have been recovered inside the Saints' 5-yard line, and a sack by cornerback Deatrick Nichols also nearly forced a fumble.
“He’s going to want that run defense to get better,” Benwikere said. “I know him. Between he and (defensive coordinator) Al Holcomb we will have to get that down.
“(But) I think we are a hungry defense. Look around the room … we have a lot of ball guys, guys who want to make plays. You have a coach who is a ball guy. It’s all about the ball.”
NKEMDICHE COMES OUT, GLENNON HURTING
Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche came out of the game after just a few plays with a right foot problem, which Wilks said was the issue that had cost Nkemdiche some practice time in training camp. It is not considered serious.
Quarterback Mike Glennon did not play, and Wilks said it was because Glennon has been dealing with a forearm issue. Wilks said he hoped a little more rest will help Glennon return to the field.
Those out and not playing Friday were linebackers Deone Bucannon, Josh Bynes and Matthew Oplinger, wide receivers Butler and Carlton Agudosi, and cornerback Jonathan Moxey.