Maybe it wasn’t intentional that the Cardinals didn’t show anything on offense in the preseason. Maybe that’s all they have.
It sure looked that way in the 24-6 loss to Washington in the season opener at State Farm Stadium.
A day after signing a three-year, $39 million contract extension, running back David Johnson looked like a very expensive car that no one could get out of the garage. He accounted for 28 yards in the Cardinals’ first possession, but six more the rest of the first half.
T-shirts shot from a cannon traveled 10 times further than any pass by Sam Bradford did while the outcome was in question.
At the end of the half, the Cardinals’ net yardage (36) was less than their penalty yardage (37).
The only consistent weapon they had in the first half was punter Andy Lee, who averaged nearly 58 yards in three kicks.
All that meant, however, is that Washington just had longer to drive for touchdowns. They led 21-0 at halftime behind scoring drives of 80, 73 and 92 yards.
The offense had an excuse for its ineptness in the opener. It underwent massive personnel changes in the offseason, including a new quarterback, a renovated line and several changes at receiver.
The Cardinals’ strength was supposed to be on defense, and the unit was impressive throughout much of the preseason. It finished with 17 takeaways.
But here’s the biggest thing from NFL preseason: there is nothing you can take away from it. It’s meaningless. As the Cardinals defense showed on Sunday, especially in the first half.
According to legend, a football team’s greatest improvement comes between Week 1 and Week 2. That will probably hold true in the Cardinals’ case because it’s hard to imagine them playing worse than they did on Sunday.