Knowing full well the first preseason game offers little in terms of playing time from the starters or any kind of flavor out of a vanilla game plan, I'll be watching on Friday night when the Arizona Cardinals take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field like everybody else. What am I watching for?
Every example is preceded by the disclaimer "I know it's just the first preseason game, but……"
Oh, and I didn't include Carson Palmer. That is a given.
1. Patrick Peterson on offense - Camp Cards has been bursting with stories on just how many looks Peterson has seen as an offensive player. On how many times he's played defense one series, only to don a white pullover, switch sides and play on offense. On Wednesday, I saw him catch a long bomb for a touchdown from Carson Palmer. Just how much of a glimpse into this are we going to see against the Packers?
2. The run game - Eric Winston said during our show Wednesday that he can look Cardinals fans in the eye and tell them the offensive line will be better than in years past. Pass protection will obviously be the main gauge of that, but so will their ability to run the football. It might not be easy to tell; injuries to Ryan Williams, Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington have been an issue. Still, it's worth watching.
3. Cornerback depth - They've got a lot of it and after Friday we'll have a better idea of who is on the top of the pyramid and who is on the bottom.
4. Tyrann Mathieu - "Pound-for-pound the best player on the field" and "playmaking machine" are two of my favorite quotes I've read about the rookie out of LSU in the last couple of days. He's made a play just about every day at camp so far. Let's see how that translates into the game.
5. Wide Receiver depth - It's unlike the cornerback position since they don't have a lot of it. After the top three, there's a big drop-off. But just like the cornerback spot, it's time to see who is on the top of the pyramid on who is on the bottom.