2008 is a make-or-break year for Leinart, as the jury is still out on his abilities. On the field, Leinart has shown flashes of brilliance but regressed badly last season. However, head coach Ken Whisenhunt has been encouraged by Leinart's offseason performance and fully expects him to take a firm grip on the starting quarterback position.
Third-year TE Leonard Pope also found himself on the shelf last season. Pope suffered an ankle injury in Week 14 and missed the Cardinals remaining three games. Pope was developing into a tremendous red-zone target, with five of his 23 receptions resulting in touchdowns. Pope will be involved in a heated competition with second-year TE Ben Patrick for the starting position. The battle is expected to last throughout the preseason.
Pope (6'8", 258 pounds) is a physical specimen who demands attention from opposing defenses. He features outstanding athleticism and strength while maintaining adequate speed. Pope's successful return from injury will be crucial to the development of Leinart. He is an excellent downfield target and can also be utilized on underneath routes.
Levi Brown and Elton Brown
Much like Leinart, 2008 is extremely important for Brown. He must prove to the Cardinals organization that he can remain healthy and contribute for an entire season. While the Cardinals have loaded up on young and talented offensive lineman, they haven't given up on Brown. Offensive line coach Russ Grimm will continue to refine Brown's skill-set with hopes that he can grow into a full-time starter.
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