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Zaven Starts Smooth, And Cowboys Aftermath

One play isn't everything, but seeing Zaven Collins shoot the gap and pull down Tony Pollard for a loss on the second play of the game, well, that was good to see. After a year in which Isaiah Simmons didn't get any offseason or preseason work – a miss that ultimately cost Simmons some development – the Cardinals need Collins to get the experience and then to have it look good? Really, his start couldn't have been much better.

Even his calls "went pretty smoothly" he said. "Junk (Markus Golden) said he couldn't understand me one time but you just reiterate the call," Collins said. "I think everything is going good from that standpoint."

Kliff Kingsbury compared Collins' situation to being that of a "rookie quarterback" because of the play calls. It's not like the Cowboys had their top offensive players on the field, but it was a good start.

The Cardinals muddled through the defensive line issues. The Cards' top six defensive linemen – Watt, Phillips, Allen, Peters, Lawrence, Fotu – didn't play. That's kind of a big deal, from the standpoint of viewing the defensive performance through a particular prism.

-- Rondale Moore had a nice night offensively. What he didn't have was any chances in the return game, which was interesting. Greg Dortch got the chance to return punts; Eno Benjamin was the main kick returner. Both didn't do too bad, and if you want to make sure Moore is healthy to invigorate the offense, then it makes sense.

-- I don't know what the ankle injury to Jonathan Ward might mean, but Benjamin had a very nice night running the ball, was solid with the aforementioned returns and also found himself on the punt return team. I know there are plenty of fans who want more "ENOOOOOOOO."

-- Dortch, by the way, made a hell of a catch late in the game. He's made some catches in camp. Could he sneak on the roster?

-- Jordan Hicks still had his captain's "C" on his jersey. Teams don't vote on captains until the roster gets down to 53, so it was notable.

-- The Cards are working hard to cut down on pre-snap penalties, so you'd like to see them get them out of the game – there was an early drive when both center Rodney Hudson and left tackle D.J. Humphries were flagged. Those are arguably your best two linemen.

-- Both rookie cornerbacks, Marco Wilson and Tay Gowan, had some pass breakups and looked generally solid. Wilson in particular looked like he could stay in there. The cornerback rotation was Byron Murphy and Robert Alford as starter and Malcolm Butler as next man in, with Wilson and Daryl Worley up next. Darqueze Dennard remains injured so he didn't play.

-- Matt Prater. One game. One game-winner. And his kickoffs were just fine.

-- Finally, props to Chris Streveler, who when we last saw him was struggling against the Rams. It wasn't the same pressure of course. But he looked much more comfortable, and he was obviously willing to run. He took some shots (including one after a play was blown dead when he heard it and stopped and the Cowboys player didn't) but kept getting up. He led the game-winning drive smartly, he avoided a couple of sacks not only with his legs but with his composure, and was solid. He's not going to surpass Colt McCoy on the depth chart, but he was effective when he played and that's all you can ask.

That's it for tonight. It's been a minute since I've had a post-midnight post.

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