GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It didn't take long for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer to answer the one question that has been plaguing him all offseason: How will he respond in his first game action since his ACL injury in November? It took Palmer four plays to thread the needle on a 57-yard pass to running back Andre Ellington and show he is back. Here are some quick thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 34-19 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday in the first preseason game for both teams:
QB depth chart: Holding steady? Palmer showed his knee and shoulder aren't issues anymore by going 4-for-4 for 77 yards. Backup Drew Stanton struggled and went 0-for-3. While Palmer will draw the headlines -- and rightfully so -- third-string quarterback Logan Thomas looked impressive, especially with his accuracy. The way Thomas played will make it tough for Phillip Sims to make the roster.
Maybe that dude could start: Kareem Martin has adjusted quite well to playing outside linebacker. He was active off the edge Saturday night and got to the quarterback with relative ease. He nailed Chiefs QB Chase Daniel square in the jaw as he released a pass on one play in the second quarter. A few more weeks of learning how to play OLB, and Martin could win a starting job.
Who got hurt? Rookie right tackle D.J. Humphries suffered a right finger injury in the first quarter but quickly returned. Defensive end Josh Mauro left the game with a back injury. Safety Brandon Person left with a right knee injury.
Nobodies who look great: Not amazing, but inside linebackers Alani Fua and Andrae Kirk had solid outings Saturday. Fua's size (6-foot-5, 234 pounds) can make him a formidable presence. Both were quick to the ball and made the statement that they might be worthy of roster spots.
Rookie watch: There's no question Markus Golden has a lot to learn about rushing the quarterback in the NFL. But there's also no question he is a talented pass-rusher. Golden got in the vicinity of the quarterback quite often Saturday. He just needs to hone his skills and not get out of position.
When it was starters vs. starters: In their seven plays in the first quarter, Arizona's starters looked nearly perfect. Palmer looked better than the quarterback he was this time last year, and Ellington was quick after missing most of the first two weeks of training camp with a hamstring injury.
One reason to freak out: (In a good way, though) Quarterback Logan Thomas looked quite impressive throughout his two quarters and two plays. He went 9-for-15 for 107 yards and an interception. Besides the pick and a drive on which he had two straight incompletions, Thomas' accuracy was on point. He showed touch and control with his passes and was used twice on quarterback sneaks to get first downs. He also took off for a 15-yard gain.
Off and running: Apparently all Ellington's time recovering from a hamstring injury the past two weeks has paid off. After Palmer fit his third pass attempt of the game through a keyhole to Ellington, the running back took off. He looked fast and smooth as he raced toward the end zone.
Honey Badger still doesn't care: Another player whose return from injury was being closely monitored Saturday was Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger has been fully healthy this fall, and his impressive training camp carried over to the preseason opener, when he intercepted Chiefs starter Alex Smith early in the first quarter.