Gameday Primer: Cardinals vs. Raiders

As the preseason winds down, the positional battles are just starting to heat up. The third preseason game often gives the viewers the most information regarding the status of the team. The starters will be playing a full half and careers are at stake as those on the bubble jockey for position. Tyson Qualls provides an inside look into the Cardinals game plan on Saturday night.

When the Cardinals Pass

The battle between Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner has dominated the headlines for the Cardinals offense. Leinart seems to have made progress from last season and this could be the game that secures his position as the starter. Most coaches play their starters for the entire first half in the third preseason game. How Coach Whisenhunt splits the snaps with Warner and Leinart will be interesting to watch.

Look for a full first half from Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. This game should be a good indicator of how in tune Leinart is with his receiving corp. Boldin has yet to back down from his trade demands and his discontent could disrupt the flow of the offense.

Ben Patrick is looking less and less likely to play, so Leonard Pope will get the majority of the snaps at tight end. It is probably for the better that Pope is starting as he is more polished and Patrick is still a year away from reaching his potential.

When the Cardinals Run

Tim Hightower has proven himself as a valuable commodity, but don't expect stardom just yet. Edgerrin James still believes that he has what it takes to be the feature back and should be a substantial obstacle to overcome. Edge will most likely see more carries this week than any other preseason game. Keep an eye on his productivity as the game wears on. That should be an accurate gauge of how many carries he will be able to endure this season.

Few players benefited from last week's contest more than J.J. Arrington. After struggling against the New Orleans Saints, Arrington redeemed himself with a 78-yard kick return. He cannot afford any miscues this week and adding another lengthy kick return certainly won't hurt his chances of continuing his career with the Cardinals.

Just for Kicks

Neil Rackers missed a PAT last week and that could be a potential issue if he returns to his inconsistent form. Hopefully that is not the case and Cardinal fans can look forward to another Pro Bowl season. Punter Dirk Johnson is in trouble and if he can't step up his game this week, he could be on his way out. Since the loss of Scot Player, the Cardinals have struggled to find a dependable punter.

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