We start with the good news, because that seems like a good idea. Defensive lineman J.J. Watt revealed on ESPN Friday night – and which was confirmed by Kliff Kingsbury after the Cards' loss to the Chiefs – that he would be returning to practice Monday. Watt has been on the Physically Unable to Perform list all of camp with a hamstring injury.
"We expect him to come back, which will be good for that defensive line to watch him work and just to see him get with the guys," Kingsbury said.
Hopefully Watt will be the beginning of a flood of practice returns, especially on the defensive line. I don't know what the lineup is going to look like in New Orleans in the preseason finale, but it's notable that Kingsbury said (which I have not been sure about up until this point) that the turf in the Caesars Superdome will not influence who is playing or not.
Which brings us to the not-as-good news, which is an offense that wasn’t able to produce a first down in three series with starting QB Kyler Murray. Do you play Murray the last game? Even Murray, who said earlier in the week how much preseason games aren't real, acknowledged bad preseason performances leave a bad taste. Does he get a chance to wash out that taste, or does he live with it until the visit to Tennessee on Sept. 12?
-- Justin Pugh and Jordan Phillips – the latter who was injured anyway – are on the Covid list, along with Andy Isabella. Then pregame, we found out that tight ends coach Steve Heiden and defensive assistant Rusty McKinney also had to miss the game for Covid protocol reasons.
"I think we all are (concerned), as a coaching staff and an organization," Kingsbury said. "It's just the times we're in right now."
-- Tight end Maxx Williams was also out with an illness, but Kingsbury said it was not Covid-related.
-- Larry Fitzgerald with some strong and, in my opinion, telling comments about his football future. He does not sound like a guy who will be playing football again. I'm not sure why it is important for him to keep the door open and not just say he is retired, but knowing what I know about Fitz and listening to what he said, it doesn't make sense to me he'd try to play some more – even if he happens to be staying in shape on his own.
-- Another solid step for Zaven Collins at linebacker, I thought. And Isaiah Simmons' speed was on display. You don't make final judgements on preseason games, but they are doing well from what I have seen. They played the entire first half, and need that kind of work.
-- At one point in the first half the Cardinals' three cornerback on the field were rookies Marco Wilson and Tay Gowan and second-year man Jace Whittaker. Whittaker had a tough night.
-- Patrick Mahomes twice took off running, I'm sure to the chagrin to their entire fan base. But on one scramble that picked up five yards, he met up with Cardinals cornerback Malcolm Butler. Butler could have smoked him legally, but in a gesture of sportsmanship given the preseason status, tackled him about as nicely as he could have.
-- Eno Benjamin again looked really good when his hands were on the ball.
-- At the end of the game, safety Shawn Williams limped off, and Chris Banjo already wasn't playing. Kingsbury noted they were down to three safeties – Charles Washington did get one of the easier interceptions he'll ever snare – so we'll see who is at practice Monday.
That's good for tonight. Two days off for this team, and then one more week of camp at the stadium.