Cardinals vs. Texans: Positions to Watch

Find out what positions have the most importance during Saturday's preseason opener against the Houston Texans.

As the Arizona Cardinals prepare to open their 2010 preseason several questions still linger at numerous positions. Training camp has allowed a few players to step up and create some separation, but the preseason is where roster spots are truly earned.

Cornerback: Across from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a couple players are making a strong case to start. Trumaine McBride and Greg Toler are currently the leading candidates. McBride has the slight edge and will start Saturday, but Toler will get every chance to surpass him before Week 1. The coaches love McBride's past starting experience and see him as a dependable presence in the secondary. On the other hand, Toler has a strong upside and showed great potential at the end of last season. This will be a tough battle, but having Toler and McBride matched up with the Texans' wide receiving corps will be a great gauge. Veterans Michael Adams and Justin Miller and rookies Marshay Green, Jorrick Calvin and A.J. Jefferson are also in the mix.

Inside Linebacker: With incumbent starter Gerald Hayes missing the start of the season, finding starters at inside linebacker has become a priority. Veteran Paris Lenon has established himself at Hayes' position on the strong side, but the weak side is still very much up for grabs. Pago Togafau, in his third stint with the team, is near the depth chart at the moment, but Monty Beisel is right there with him. Reggie Walker has been bit by the injury bug, but remains within striking distance. Rookie Daryl Washington has a ton of talent, but his body and awareness still need to develop. Chasing down running backs such as Chris Johnson, Clinton Portis and Steve Slaton this preseason should indicate who gives the team the best option at the position.

Right Guard: One of the major stories of the offseason has been the shakeup along the offensive line. With the arrival of guard Alan Faneca, center Lyle Sendlein is the only starter from last season lining up in the same spot. Every starter has been confirmed with the exception of right guard, where Reggie Wells and Deuce Lutui are competing for the job. Wells has the edge through two weeks of camp, but Lutui has rebounded from a contract holdout and looks to remain an integral part of the offensive line. Balance will be the key here and which of the two can show the most consistency in both pass protection and run blocking will get a majority of the snaps.

Fourth/Fifth Receivers: Beyond Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet lies a group of young and talented, but unproven wideouts whom the coaches are eager to get a longer look at in the preseason. Leading the pack during training camp is rookie Stephen Williams. Williams has turned heads with his stellar hands and surprising speed. The coaches want to see him against stiffer competition in the coming weeks. Fellow rookie Andre Roberts struggled at the start of camp, but has come on of late under the tutelage of Larry Fitzgerald. Roberts will need to prove he can perform in game situations as both a receiver and punt returner. Onrea Jones was a favorite for a roster spot but is facing stiffer competition than anticipated from the younger wideouts. Darren Mougey, Max Komar and Ed Gant are also among the other possibilities, but will need a flawless preseason to survive final cuts.


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