A Showdown at Every Position

It's finally here, football season. Unfortunately it's just the preseason. Yes, boring at times, all is not lost. Look at it this way, every play impacts the regular season. It's the difference between who stays and who goes. Who plays and who sits. Teams stacked with young talent like the Cardinals use the preseason to see what they really have in their unproven talent.

Quarterback

Will Matt Leinart finally be able to breathe easy at practice or is the quarterback controversy just heating up? Leinart has looked good so far, but so has Kurt Warner. Leinart will get the start.

Wide Receiver

So many receivers, so few spots, this group might be most anxious to get out on the field and figure out where they stand. It will be interesting to see who gets in rhythm with which quarterback. Both have worked with the second team.

Steve Breaston should get a lot of balls thrown his way and every opportunity to prove himself as the three man, after working all week with the first team in place of Anquan Boldin. Let the battle for fourth receiver begin. Some are big (Jerheme Urban ), some are fast (Sean Morey ) and others have hands (Lance Long ) or work hard (Jamaica Rector).

Running Back

It's no secret, Edgerrin James is getting older. Having a quality backup is something the Cardinals must have to be competitive for the entire NFL season. J.J. Arrington is the last year of his rookie contract but hasn't proven himself to this point. He does have third down back value but the carries are going to fifth round pick Tim Hightower.

Is Hightower the running back of the future? Cardinals' Nation should get their first glimpse against the Saints.

Tight End

Leonard Pope has looked healthy since breaking his ankle last year. That is most important, but now its time to see if he is game ready. Right behind him is second year man Ben Patrick who filled in at the end of last season. Running a lot of two tight sets, both have seen plenty of action and have proven to be effective in the pass game. Look for Patrick to make his move.

Offensive Line

With starting center Al Johnson out, can Lyle Sendlein step in and anchor an offensive line that returns all the other starters. With a year under their belt the offensive line as a whole should be much improved. The back ups are also a little banged up. Look for anyone that stands out to get significant time this year if anyone goes down.

Defensive Line

With starter hopeful Gabe Watson on the PUP list, Look for veteran free agent Bryan Robinson to try and hold off under performing Alan Branch. Weighing more than 330 pounds, Branch can be unstoppable when he wants to be. He just hasn't shown the motor coaches are looking for so far.

Rookie defensive end's Calais Campbell and Kenny Iwebema should see plenty of action. Both are big and can play inside if needed.

Linebacker

It's all about the predator. The predator is the outside linebacker in the 3-4 that lines up on the line like a fourth lineman. Chike Okeafor was hurt all of last season but should be the starter.

Veteran free agent Clark Haggans will get his opportunity to do what he does best, rush the passer. Travis LaBoy is another free agent trying to be the predator. All three can get after the quarterback and with a second string line as the only thing standing in their way; it should be fun to watch.

Defensive Back

The defensive backfield is full of big names trying to adjust.

Can Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie hit? We know he can cover, but has playing Div. II football affected his tackling?

Has Antrel Rolle found a home at safety? Drafted in the first round in 2005, the Cardinals need Rolle to be an impact player.

Adrian Wilson is healthy after hurting his heel late last season and ready to get physical. He won't be in long but look for him to make a big hit before he takes a seat for the night.

K/P

Neil Rackers has shown the ability to kick 50 yard field goals with ease in 2007 hitting nine. However, his accuracy as a whole was on the decline. At 70 percent Rackers had his worst season in six years. Look for him to bounce back.


CardinalsSource Top Stories