All those things the Cardinals were looking for on offense that were absent in the preseason opener, Steve Wilks could see them Friday in the Big Easy. Sam Bradford got a chance to throw the ball a bunch, and he looked very good doing it. Josh Rosen got a chance to play with the first-unit offensive line, and his play reflected it. Even the second-string offensive line, which was not good in the opener, came together and was solid (and flip-flopped Evan Boehm to center and Daniel Munyer over to left guard after Munyer's snapping issues last week.)
There are of course things that were not good. The run defense? Not good. The Cards still haven't seen a starting quarterback yet, since Drew Brees took the Philip Rivers road of not playing. Some of the things that have worked won't necessarily translate to the regular season.
But Wilks has seen things on which to build. Defensive tackle Corey Peters even hurt his knee early in the game and it turned out to be nothing. You take the victories where you can find them.
-- Having watched Rosen now up until this point, yes, he has things to learn. But jeez, the more you see him –especially when he had the protection up front – you see why he is the QB of the future. His arm is strong and accurate. He still is honing decision-making. He almost threw an interception Friday because he was pressured and he went somewhere he shouldn't have. But that throw to Christian Kirk was excellent for the TD, and he just operates with a guy that has a high ceiling.
-- That's not to ignore Bradford. His passes are so impressive. I was noticing it at the end of camp, how his practice throws in regular drills simply were always on target and perfect spirals. They looked that way Friday night too. I understand the high hopes for his season if he stays healthy.
-- Maybe Kirk is the No. 2 after all. Maybe it is Chad Williams, who was so happy to hear Wilks expressed confidence in him after a bad practice Wednesday. Williams believes he and Wilks connect as player and coach. That only serves as motivation.
"I feel like I did a little something to help the team, but I just know I can do so much more," Williams said. "Tonight was, it felt good to just get out and play."
-- Wilks isn't happy about penalties. He shouldn't be. Too many false starts, even in a noisy place like the Superdome. And 13 for 110 yards, which is what the Cards had Friday, will normally kill you.
-- It seems like a lifetime ago already, but David Johnson seemed to see Chase Edmonds' improbable touchdown run from the preseason opener and raise, after Johnson bulled his way into the end zone. Before the play, Bradford came to the sideline to talk to offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and I don't know if Bradford saw a chance to play power football there, but it worked. The blocking was good, but a lot of that was Johnson's will – in a season where Johnson is quietly maniacal about showing how good he is.
-- Rookie kicker Matt McCrane made a 53-yard field goal that would have been good from 60. That it came after Phil Dawson missed on from 46 was noticeable, but Dawson has been good in camp. It does seem like McCrane has a future in the league somewhere, though.
-- Finally, there was a second-string offensive line, which featured Boehm and Munyer in different spots and came out looking good.
"We took it upon ourselves," Boehm said. "As a (second-string) O-line, without (coaches) Ray (Brown) and Steve (Heiden) or anybody else, we had a little coming-together, a little coming-to-Jesus meeting to figure out what was wrong and what we needed to do. Watching the film, we were playing not to mess up. Thinking way too much. This week, we just played free."
-- Boehm hasn't had reps at center since basically Mason Cole was drafted – until last week and now, a game.
"Wherever they need me, I'm going to play," Boehm said. "I felt comfortable."
-- The Cardinals did too, more or less. Time for a late-night plane flight home. Dallas and "Sunday Night Football" are next.