Cardinals quarterback Matt Barkley unleashes a pass in Thursday's 38-17 win over the Broncos.
Matt Barkley felt good about his play on Thursday night, but he won't attempt to gauge how much it affects his future with the Cardinals.
The third-string quarterback had his best showing this preseason in the 38-17 win over the Broncos, completing 20-of-29 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals' brass must decide whether to put Barkley on the active roster, offer him a practice squad spot or cut ties with him as the roster gets trimmed by Saturday at 1 p.m.
"I don't think about that," Barkley said. "I don't think you can. I just play one play at a time and worry about what I can control. I'm not worried about anything else."
Barkley knew he'd be playing the entire game against Denver as Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton rested, and he found a nice rhythm. Barkley found wideout J.J. Nelson for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the first quarter and hit wideout Jaxon Shipley for a 14-yard score right before halftime.
"We're not going against All-Pros, but we moved the ball and we put points on the board," Barkley said. "That's what our goal was. I think we did a good job of doing it."
Coach Bruce Arians saw progress from Barkley as the preseason wore on. He threw three interceptions over the first three games, and while he did lose a fumble in this one, there were no picks.
"Protecting the football," said Arians, when asked where Barkley grew the most this preseason. "He got lucky, throwing the ball on the goal line that probably should have been intercepted. He's got to quit forcing those kinds. But they didn't catch it so that's an improvement."
CATANZARO HITS FROM 59
The Cardinals wanted to test kicker Chandler Catanzaro's field goal range this preseason and finally got that opportunity Thursday.
In the third quarter the team stalled at the Denver 41. Some eyebrows were raised when Catanzaro trotted onto the field, but he sneaked the ball through the uprights for a 59-yard conversion.
"Right when it took off, I knew it," Catanzaro said. "It ended up being pretty close, but it felt really good off my foot."
Catanzaro's regular season long is 51 yards, and he's now made kicks from 52 and 59 yards in the preseason. He was 3-for-3 on field goals against the Broncos, connecting from 45 and 24 in addition to the long ball.
On the possession after his long make, the Cardinals faced a fourth down at the Broncos' 45, which would have equated to a 63-yard field goal. The Cardinals punted.
"A couple of the fans jokingly said, 'Send Cat-Man out there,'" Catanzaro said. "That's a long one. We'll build on this one for the regular season, how about that?"
JOHN BROWN GETS SOME WORK
Wide receiver John Brown missed the first three preseason games with a concussion but returned to the field on Thursday. Brown broke free on a vertical route early, but Barkley double-clutched and fumbled before he could get the ball away.
Brown didn't see a target in the two series he played.
"I was hoping to get a pass, get a little contact, see where I was," Brown said. "But you know, I was satisfied that at least I got a chance to get out there, so a little something."
Brown said he is not getting headaches any longer and believes he will be full-throttle for the season opener against the Patriots. He doesn't think missing several weeks will have a huge effect on his conditioning.
"I think I'll be fine," Brown said. "I've just got to push myself."
In other injury news, linebacker Kareem Martin left the game with a knee sprain and is expected to miss two-to-three weeks, Arians said. Linebacker Tristan Okpalaugo injured his hamstring in the game, Arians said.
Images from the Cardinals' final preseason game of 2016 against the Broncos on Thursday night