Kurt Warner returns for his 12th season after guiding the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance since their move to Arizona. His competition is Matt Leinart who has yet to live up to his potential since joining the franchise. Leinart has reportedly committed to a rigorous off-season program and could push Warner early in camp. Leinart's chances of surpassing the veteran are slim, but with Warner approaching 39 years old, he has the potential play frequently during the season. Brian St. Pierre has been focused on improving his game as well. If Leinart returns to his old ways, look for St. Pierre to moved up to number two on the depth chart.
A few new additions to the running game have Cardinal fans excited about the upcoming season. Chris "Beanie" Wells could be the breakout running back of 2009. If Wells can maintain his health, he could see a healthy dose of action in Coach Whisenhunt's power offense. Tim Hightower will most likely be the starter out of the gates, but Wells should be nipping at his heels for the entire season. By mid-season, Hightower could be relegated to third down back.
The veteran leadership of Edgerrin James will be missed; it will be up to Hightower to share with Wells the information that was passed to him by James. The rest of the group consists of journeyman Jason Wright and a speedster rookie draft choice named LaRod Stephens-Howling who is a potential candidate to take over the departed J.J. Arrington's duties as kick returner.
This season the wide receivers have continued the trend of being the most talented squad as well as the squad with the most drama. Anquan Boldin has been a no show at OTAs and is still upset about his contract status. Larry Fitzgerald has been working hard during the offseason and should continue his rise to the top of the NFL.
Steve Breaston and Early Doucet will provide another spirited training camp battle for the slot receiver position. If Boldin chooses to hold out, Lance Long could snatch a golden opportunity to gain exposure in the NFL. The Cardinals are stacked at receiver once again and with the first four spots locked down Jerheme Urban, Sean Morey, Lance Long, and Michael Ray Garvin will have to play receiver musical chairs for the final spots.
Anthony Becht brings his 10 seasons of experience to the Cardinals with the hopes of jump-starting a disappointing crew. Leonard Pope and Ben Patrick struggled with injuries all of last season. Stephen Spach was a late addition that made one incredible catch, then finished the season on the IR with a torn ACL.
Patrick and Pope should again square off for the feature role, while Becht will be used as a blocking specialist. If Pope and Patrick continue to perform below their potential, it may be another long season at the tight end position.