Cardinals OTA Preview

The Arizona Cardinals begin organized team activities on Tuesday, kicking off what the team hopes will be a third consecutive winning season. The quarterback position will be the main area of focus with the battle beginning this week and likely lasting into the preseason. Brad Wilbricht previews what to look for at quarterback during this week's OTA's and much more inside.

While returning players will have plenty at stake during this week's organized team activities, the newcomers will have even more invested. Marquee free-agent additions LB Joey Porter and G Alan Faneca have reputations to bring with them to the desert but others aren't as fortunate. Less notable players such as LB Paris Lenon and OL Rex Hadnot are two relatively proven veterans who will be hungry for playing time.

Hadnot has the ability to play multiple positions along the offensive line and could stand to gain from the recent holdout of Deuce Lutui. Lutui has yet to sign his restricted free-agent tender but has little leverage due to the acquisitions of Hadnot and Faneca. Following the signing of Faneca, Arizona shifted Reggie Wells to right guard while inserting Faneca on the left side. The Cardinals now consider Lutui a luxury and not a necessity heading into the 2010 campaign.

Meanwhile, Lenon has an opportunity to start aside Gerald Hayes in the middle of Arizona's linebacking corps. Lenon will have competition from incoming rookie Daryl Washington but both players will undoubtedly see the field often due the Cardinals thin depth at the inside linebacker position. Washington has great potential but enters the NFL will less than ideal power at the point of attack. It may take a season for Washington to increase his strength, paving the way for Lenon to start in 2010.


Greg Toler
(Getty)

In comparison from the changes above, positions such as wide receiver, running back and defensive line will look very similar to last year. However, the secondary and quarterback will have extreme differences. Two of Arizona's starters in the secondary will be new following the defections of FS Antrel Rolle and CB Bryant McFadden. Second-year CB Greg Toler and free-agent addition FS Kerry Rhodes will be inserted into the starting lineup. Rhodes is an established player but Toler will have plenty to prove given his inexperience at the pro level.

At quarterback, Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson will battle for the starting stop. Leinart has the initial advantage because of his familiarity of the Cardinals' offense but Anderson displays enough awareness to learn quickly. Both signal callers have been plagued by inconsistencies throughout their career but Leinart has had more to work with, particularly on the perimeter. Leinart struggled despite the luxury of throwing to wideouts such as Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Anderson had a far less impressive supporting cast during his tenure with the Cleveland Browns.

A great deal is at stake in the coming months and OTA's is a vital piece of the equation. The foundation of the season begins during this time frame and players begin developing cohesiveness and rapport. Stay tuned to AZRedReport.com for all of the latest news and happenings from this week's action at OTA's.


Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com
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