2008 Cardinals Preseason Recap

The Cardinals concluded the preseason with a 28-14 defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos. Despite the loss, QB Matt Leinart's performance was the highlight of the night as he proved he's not ready to relinquish his starting duties to veteran QB Kurt Warner. Brad Wilbricht wraps up the Cardinals 2008 preseason action in this AZRedReport.com exclusive.

With veteran QB Kurt Warner at the helm, the Cardinals offense was out of sync early going three-and-out on their first possession. However, Warner looked sharp thereafter, completing all four of his passes for a total of 48 yards. During limited playing time, Warner's passes were accurate and on time. Furthermore, he continues to click with WR Anquan Boldin as the two hooked up on three completions in the first quarter.

QB Matt Leinart entered the game on the Cardinals third offensive possession and was sacked on his first play from scrimmage. Following an inauspicious start, Leinart rebounded and completed 4-of-4 passes for 87 yards on the drive. Leinart capped off a seven-play 90-yard drive by hitting TE Leonard Pope on a 17-yard touchdown strike.

Leinart and WR Jerheme Urban were firing on all cylinders during first half action. While WR Steve Breaston looked to have a firm grasp on the third wide receiver spot, Urban's performance will garner strong consideration heading into the season opener in San Francisco.

Leinart finished 10-of-14 for 177 yards and one touchdown while Urban caught four passes for 94 yards. In all, the Cardinal racked up 252 yards of total offense in the first half, including 220 yards through the air.

Leniart's lone miscue took place as he threw a backwards pass that was ruled a fumble and recovered by Denver. However, Leinart displayed his resiliency by leading the Cardinals offense to an impressive two-minute drill that resulted in a 26-yard touchdown run by J.J. Arrington. Arrington has exploded in recent weeks and has secured a spot on the active roster over the last three games.

Following Friday's preseason finale, the Cardinals quarterback controversy continues. After a dismal first half last week, Leinart was outstanding against Denver. Warner has been steady throughout the preseason, but Leinart demonstrated the skills that earned him starting status throughout the offseason.

After breaking out for 215 yards rushing against Oakland, the Cardinals rushing game took a step back. They rushed for only 71 yards on a miniscule 3.2 yards per carry. While RB Tim Hightower is having a tremendous preseason, he fumbled for the second straight week. Hightower has scored three touchdowns during preseason action but must do a better job of protecting the ball. As a team the Cardinals fumbled three times and committed a total of five turnovers on the evening.

On defense, Calais Campbell and Kenny Iwebema continue to look like seasoned veterans along the defensive line. Campbell ended up with seven tackles on the night while Iwebema added three tackles and one sack. Both players have secured a spot in the Cardinals' defensive rotation upfront.

Safety Matt Ware was all over the field, finishing with four tackles and breaking up multiple pass attempts. Although the Cardinals are loaded at the safety position, Ware may have locked up a spot on the 53-man roster. His ability to split time at cornerback and safety supplies the Cardinals defense with a versatile backup in the secondary.

The Cardinals defense struggled all night against the Denver running game, in particular with rookie RB Anthony Alridge. Alridge rushed for 110 yards on 23 carries while the Broncos racked up 187 total yards on the ground. Given the current stable of Denver running backs, Alridge is in a heated battle for a roster spot. His performance should give him a leg up on the competition and at worst secure him a spot on the Broncos' practice squad.

After a 2-2 preseason, the Cardinals now set their sights on the regular season opener in San Francisco. Arizona looks to avenge being swept by their division rival last year and end a two-game losing streak against the 49ers.


Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com

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