STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
The club replaced cornerback Richard Marshall with former Steelers cornerback William Gay. Gay should be able to fill Marshall's role as a part-time starter, nickel contributor and special teams play.
Gay knows the Cardinals system, because it's basically the Steelers defense. He played for Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton in Pittsburgh.
The team also shored up a weakness by signing safety James Sanders to a one-year deal. Sanders is expected to be a backup to both strong safety Adrian Wilson and free safety Kerry Rhodes.
The Cardinals weren't particularly active in free agency and concentrated on re-signing many of their own players. Recent re-signings are kicker Jay Feely, long snapper Mike Leach, receiver Early Doucet, linebacker Reggie Walker and offensive lineman D'Anthony Batiste.
1. Offensive tackle: This could become less of a priority should the Cardinals sign a free agent or two. The starters from last year, Levi Brown and Brandon Keith, are free agents. And even if they return, the team needs to look for an upgrade. With the 13th overall selection, they should be able to fill this need if they so choose.
2. Guard: Maybe Adam Snyder, signed as a free agent, can start on the right side. Or maybe the Cardinals move him to right tackle and draft a guard. They will have a shot at the draft's best guard, Stanford's David DeCastro, in the first round. He would be hard to pass up.
3. Defensive end/outside linebacker: The starters are young and talented but depth is a concern. The Cardinals have had trouble acquiring and developing outside linebackers and they need to flood the position. The team also needs to start bringing along a young defensive end.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's what scares me a little bit, because obviously he's smarter than I am. Maybe he can teach me a few things, I don't know." -- Offensive line coach Russ Grimm to azcardinals.com on guard Chris Stewart, who attended a year of law school while at Notre Dame.
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