Five keys for Cardinals against Raiders

The Cardinals will take on the Raiders for the 13th time in the preseason tonight at University of Phoenix Stadium, as they try to get their first win of the 2012 preseason. 

How do the Cardinals beat a Raiders team that’s lost five straight preseason games, and who’s working on a short work week, after losing to Dallas at home on Monday night?

1. Kevin Kolb will start, and he has to show some progress. Kolb has a passer rating of ZERO so far this preseason!

For his sake and the sake of the team, he has to be effective in his time out there, which could be the whole game if coach Whisenhunt doesn’t see anything out of him in the early going.

2. Ryan Williams is expected to finally take the field for the Cardinals.

If he can come in and contribute, that should take some pressure off Kolb, John Skelton and the rest of the offense. It would also mark Williams first game at University of Phoenix Stadium, which should give him some added incentive to produce while he’s in the lineup.

3. The first team defense was manhandled last week in Kansas City. That CANNOT happen again tonight against Oakland.

That unit has to force some manhood issues tonight and keep that Raiders offense as quiet as they were against the Cowboys. Matt Leinart is coming back to Arizona for the first time since the team cut him two years ago. That should make for some good conversation on the sidelines. The entire defense needs to keep him, Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden ineffective, and give the Cardinals offense more chances to get something going.

4. The intangibles: tackling on defense, proper special teams coverage and performance on special teams, keeping penalties to a bare minimum. These are all key components to a team’s success.

If the Cardinals can be on the plus of these things, then they have a greater shot of beating the Raiders.

5. Play with a sense of urgency. The Raiders aren’t exactly world-beaters, judging by their performance on Monday night, and their recent preseason history. This team can be beat.

It’s time for this team to step up, and it’s time for individual players to start stepping it up, because this isn’t your typical preseason game.

It’s getting down to the nitty-gritty as far as jobs and positions go on this team.