Training Camp: What to Watch on Offense

With a solid core of returning players and the addition of promising newcomers, the Cardinals offense is poised to be one of the most explosive units in the NFL. Although the depth chart is nearly set, there are a few spots still up for grabs. Brad Wilbricht outlines what to watch on offense during training camp in this AZRedReport.com exclusive.

Who'll be the starting quarterback?

Although head coach Ken Whisenhunt named QB Matt Leinart the starter back in April, it will be an open competition throughout training camp. Veteran QB Kurt Warner proved his worth last season stepping in for Leinart after he went down with a broken collarbone in Week 5. Leinart has struggled with inconsistent play and injuries during his first two NFL seasons. Meanwhile, Warner has been extremely dependable since arriving in the desert. If Leinart fails to take a firm grasp on the starting position this summer, his long-term future in Arizona will be in doubt.

What will happen at the running back position?

While it was widely expected the Cardinals would draft a speedy running back to compliment Edgerrin James, it didn't happen. However, the team did add a potential sleeper in fifth-round pick Tim Hightower. Hightower has received high praise thus far and has even been compared to Dallas Cowboys RB Marion Barber. With the status of running backs Marcel Shipp and J.J. Arrington still uncertain, Hightower could be James' top backup. Shipp has been a career reserve and Arrington has been a disappointment since being drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft.

Who will emerge as the third wide receiver?

Heading into training camp, the competition for the third wide receiver spot is a two-horse race. Second-year WR Steve Breaston and rookie WR Early Doucet have separated themselves from the opposition. Breaston was a standout return man as a rookie last year. He saw limited time at receiver but has been impressive during minicamp and OTA's. Doucet features a similar skill-set as WR Anquan Boldin and may be the most NFL ready of the Cardinals rookies. Backups Sean Morey and Jerheme Urban are next on the depth chart and will need a flawless performance in training camp to surpass Breaston or Doucet.

Will the offensive line continue to improve under Russ Grimm?

The Cardinals offensive line experienced vast improvements last year and will look to build on that momentum this season. With the same starting five still intact and another year under Grimm's direction, the unit could grow into one of the team's strengths. RT Levi Brown and RG Deuce Lutui protect Leinart's blind side while LT Mike Gandy and LG Reggie Wells round out the left side of the line. Center Al Johnson is the anchor in the middle with backup Lyle Sendlein close behind. Reserve guard Elton Brown should also see an expanded role off the bench. Brown has been hampered by injuries during his career, but has potential to develop into a full-time starter if healthy.


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