NFL Preseason Preview - Oakland (0-1) at Arizona (0-2)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - The upcoming preseason bout between the Arizona Cardinals
and Oakland Raiders may not hold a great deal of importance to either team,
but Friday's game at University of Phoenix Stadium will certainly be a crucial
one for Kevin Kolb.
Kolb has his best -- and perhaps last -- chance to grab hold of the open No. 1
quarterback job that he's close to letting slip away with a pair of poor
displays in Arizona's first two contests of this preseason. The expected
starter went 1-of-4 for a paltry four yards and one interception in an injury-
shortened stint against New Orleans in the Aug. 5 Hall of Fame Game, and
wasn't effective again in the Cardinals' 27-17 loss at Kansas City last week.
Relieving competitor John Skelton in the second quarter, Kolb completed only
one of his five attempts for 21 yards while failing to generate any points.
The sixth-year pro will still get the starting nod in Friday's matchup, with
Skelton presently slated to begin next week's game against Miami. That could
change if Kolb bounces back with a strong effort against the Raiders, however,
especially after the Cardinals handed the struggling signal-caller a $7
million option bonus back in March.
Skelton, who won five of seven starts in relief of an injured Kolb last
season, hasn't taken advantage of his opportunity either. The strong-armed 24-
year-old was an unimpressive 3-of-6 for 35 yards with an interception against
Arizona had greater success running the football in the Kansas City game, with
deep reserve William Powell ripping off 92 yards and a touchdown on only nine
carries and Alfonso Smith adding 40 yards on nine attempts. Both players
figure to receive less reps this week, though, with top options Ryan Williams
and Beanie Wells both nearing a return from knee injuries that have sidelined
each for the first two outings.
Williams, Arizona's second-round choice in the 2011 draft who spent his entire
rookie season on injured reserve with a torn patella tendon, is slated to make
his long-awaited return against the Raiders. Wells, who produced 1,047 yards
and 10 touchdowns a year ago, was activated from the physically unable to
perform list last week and has a chance to see action in the Cardinals' home
preseason opener as well.
The Cardinals will also be making a change on the offensive line, with
journeyman D'Anthony Batiste taking over for veteran Jeremy Bridges at right
tackle in a performance-related switch.
Oakland's offense is coming off a rather sluggish showing of its own this past
week, gaining a mediocre 253 total yards in Monday's 3-0 shutout setback to
Dallas that marked Dennis Allen's first game as the team's head coach.
Starting quarterback Carson Palmer was intercepted on the Raiders' opening
possession and hit on just 3-of-6 attempts for 33 yards before exiting.
On a more positive note, the Raiders' defense held the Cowboys to 202 total
yards and a 2-of-10 success rate on third downs, and there were bright spots
on the offensive side on the night. One was the healthy return of Darren
McFadden in the impact running back's first game action since October of last
McFadden, limited to seven games in 2011 by a nagging foot sprain, had 20
yards on his two rushes while adding an 18-yard reception. He'll likely see an
slightly increased workload on Friday, especially with main backups Mike
Goodson (neck) and Taiwan Jones (hamstring) to miss a second straight week.
Wide receiver Rod Streater, attempting to make Oakland's roster as an
undrafted rookie, also impressed with a six-catch, 66-yard effort. With
projected starting wideout Denarius Moore still bothered by a strained
hamstring, the college free agent could also be in line for a heavier role on
Linebacker Aaron Curry and All-Pro punter Shane Lechler will also sit out for
the Raiders with knee injuries, while veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour
(knee) is a question mark after being held out against Dallas.
Oakland holds a 7-5 lead in its overall preseason series with Arizona, but the
Cardinals have taken the last two meetings in the set. The Cards came through
with a 24-18 road victory last season, while also posting a 24-0 decision at
the Coliseum in 2008.
08/15 16:00:54 ET
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