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Emari Demercado Gets Help From His Friends, And Broncos Aftermath

Emari Demercado should've been stopped. But he wasn't.

"Just a matter of keeping my legs driving," the undrafted rookie running back said of his two-point conversion to win Friday night's preseason opener over the Broncos. "There was contact on the play, but it doesn't mean the play is over."

Demercado, just 5-foot-9 but 215 pounds, plowed as hard as he could. It didn't hurt that 6-7, 302-pound tackle Jackson Barton was pushing him as hard as he could (and it kind of looked like guard Lecitus Smith was doing some pulling too). With all the questions about running back right now -- Marlon Mack gone, Keaontay Ingram still sidelined, Corey Clement going to the locker room (although Jonathan Gannon said he was OK) -- Demercado might be needed. Efforts like the last play Friday will only help his cause.

We know that preseason doesn't matter in the standings. But given everything this team has been through, it did feel like there was a little jolt with the comeback victory. More importantly, the Gannon-led team did things cleanly. The plays all got in fine. There weren't a lot of penalties. For the first time out, it seemed like what you would want.

-- Clayton Tune did OK. I don't think he made any major inroads on surpassing Colt McCoy, but he probably didn't lose a chance to get there either.

-- The starting defensive line was L.J. Collier, Leki Fotu and Jonathan Ledbetter -- just like was listed on the depth chart. Will be interesting if it stays that way.

-- Wolf got a, an X shoutout from an ESPN fan thanks to the broadcast being simulcast on NFL Network.

-- I know Russell Wilson got his TD pass and had decent stats, but the Cardinals' pass rush got to him early.

-- Dennis Gardeck continues to play well in camp. The Cardinals could use him to return to 2020 pass-rush form.

-- Rookie tight end Joel Honigford, who had one catch his entire college career, equaled that in his first NFL game.

-- The Broncos, without a timeout, were rushing their field goal unit onto the field to try and get off an attempt before the first half ran out. It was going to be close -- but Gannon called timeout. Able to set up, Elliott Fry made a 55-yarder.

"That was probably, looking back on it, a little bit of a mistake by me," Gannon said. "Two things went into play with that. I didn't know if their operation was clean and I didn't want them to run out the half, and, not in a real game, but we wanted to get another snap of kickoff return. Looking back on it it was probably a mistake there."

-- Cornerback Antonio Hamilton did get the late pass interference, but he also had an interception and another near-pick.

-- Among the players that didn't play but aren't hurt were safety Budda Baker, running back James Conner, linebacker Kyzir White, and tackle D.J. Humphries. Guys that have been banged up -- TE Trey McBride, Ingram, WR Hollywood Brown, LB BJ Ojulari among them -- also sat.

-- The Cardinals return to work Monday. This week of practice will be in the morning heat in Tempe.

Emari Demercado (left) and James Conner.
Emari Demercado (left) and James Conner.

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