The Arizona Cardinals will look across the scrimmage line for the first time in 2015 and see a jersey other than Cardinal red and white. The Cardinals will play host to the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, as both teams begin their pre-season schedules.
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For the Cardinals this will be a nice break in their routines, after opening camp two weeks ago and hosting their annual Red and White practice on August 8th.
Both of these teams met in Week 14 of 2014, with the Cardinals coming out on top 17-14. Though this game means nothing for their final record it is the beginning of a season where both teams want to get back to the playoffs. Kansas City missed the playoffs in 2014, going 9-7, and the Cardinals finished out the year with a third/fourth string quarterback on offense, losing to Carolina in the first round.
This game will mark the return of key players for both teams.
For Arizona this will be Carson Palmer’s first game back after tearing his ACL against the Rams. Palmer has looked good in training camp and wants to have a season similar to that of 2006, a season after tearing the same ACL, where he put up monster numbers. Though the team announced Palmer would only be playing one series, it will be nice for Cardinals fans to see him back in the game.
Nov 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) pressures Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
For the Chiefs the return of Eric Berry will be huge. Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last November and in June the doctors said he was cancer-free. This game will be a huge milestone in Berry’s miraculous return to football, and this team is excited to have him back on the field.
Along with key players returning this will be the Cardinals’ new defensive coordinator, James Bettcher, first game. He will want to show what he’s got and show the fans that this defense will be as good, if not better, than last year’s.
Aug 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals coaching intern Jen Welter works with running back Paul Lasike (34) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (52) during training camp at University of Phoenix. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
This will also be a milestone in the NFL. The Cardinals have Jen Welter coaching linebackers; making her the first female coach in the NFL and Sarah Thomas is the first NFL-Union referee, as she is apart of the crew refereeing Saturday’s game.
With this being the first pre-season game, both teams will limit their starters to the first quarter, if not one series. According to the Cardinals’ website the team following quarterback rotation; Palmer starts and plays one series, Drew Stanton plays the remaining first quarter, Logan Thomas plays the second and most of the third quarter, and Phillip Sims will finish the game. For the Chiefs they announced that the first string will play the first quarter, the second string plays the second quarter, and the third and fourth string play the third and fourth quarters.
It will be interesting to see how young players perform in their first real test. This is usually a make it or break it game for most players that are on the bubble. No matter who plays both teams’ coaches, players and fans are hoping for a good game with no major injuries.