Behind Enemy Lines: Miami/Arizona, Part II

There is a buzz surrounding the Arizona Cardinals and many question whether it's all hype or if there is some truth to what the Cardinals' are selling. Offensively, the more things change the more they stay the same. Kurt Warner is still starting and Edgerrin James is still producing. Amberly Richardson answers's Alain Poupart's questions about the Cardinals' offense.

Alain Poupart: The big story in camp was Kurt Warner winning the starting job over Matt Leinart; is Leinart ever going to play for the Cards?

Amberly RichardsonThe answer to this question is two-fold. On one hand, it seems safe to say that the Cardinals will start working Leinart in at some point this season because of the progress he made during the offseason. If Arizona still plans on Leinart as the future of its organization then they won't let the progression go by the wayside. Overall, Leinart played well in preseason, with the exception of a three-pick game against the Oakland Raiders on the road.

On the other hand, the Cardinals are focused on winning and believe Warner will put the most "W's" on the board, so Leinart very well could ride the bench all season.

AP:WR Anquan Boldin, a guy the Dolphins should have drafted in 2001, is unhappy with his contract and wants to be traded; are there any indications that it's affecting his play?

AR:Boldin's contract dispute and trade wish haven't affected his play thus far. In the second half of Week 1, he caught eight passes for 82 yards. He is still being counted on in clutch situations. If Warner or the Cardinals were worried about his lack of effort they wouldn't rely on him when it's a dire play.

AP: Is Edgerrin James still a productive running back, anywhere near as good as he was with Indy?

AR: When the Cardinals signed James in 2006, there weren't many other teams willing to take a chance on the aging back. Two years later, James has supplied a pair of 1,100-yard plus seasons for Arizona. He lacks the big play ability that any ground game wishes for, but he is still posting 100-yard games, the total just requires a lot of carries. Against the 49ers he saw 26 attempts for exactly 100 yards. Looking at the numbers, James still shows a strong resemblance to the player he was with the Colts in the later years.

Arizona brought in rookie running back Tim Hightower out of Richmond who is already lightening James' load, but the Cardinals fully expect James to produce yet another 1,000-yard season.

AP:Back to Warner, it appears he still holds the ball too long in the pocket and takes a lot of hits. How long will he last?

AR:Warner definitely still holds the ball for too long and took a number of hits in San Francisco last week, including three sacks, but there are flashes of the MVP player he once was. He gives Arizona the best chance of winning. Warner is a smart quarterback who has the ability to execute and change plays at the tip of a hat.

Durability is the big question mark with Warner. How does a 37-year-old stand up against some of the league's best pass rushers? Typically the answer is, he doesn't, but Warner is adamant on proving he is still one of the top signal callers in the league and that he brings something special to the football field on every single snap. His immobility will be a problem, but he won a Super Bowl on the same two feet. Warner's line is improving, and the Cardinals are searching for the perfect balance between passing and rushing. Having James and Hightower in the backfield will go a long way in helping Warner stay active.

AP: How good is the offensive line?

AR:The offensive line made the most improvements out of any other unit last season. They picked up a couple top accolades by protecting Leinart and Warner all but 24 times (tied with the San Diego Chargers for eighth-best) and allowing the quarterbacks to pass for a fifth-best 254.1 yards per game.

The Cardinals were devoted to developing the line in 2007, and they put the process in action when they picked up fifth overall pick Levi Brown who has a looming presence up front. The consistency that Arizona was looking forward to was interrupted when center Al Johnson was placed on injured reserve before the season opener, but his backup Lyle Sendlein is a solid player who had a couple starts last season and saw snaps with the first team during camp.

CardinalsSource Top Stories