With the preseason in full swing, coaches will be breaking down every minute of game film to fill out their respective rosters. For coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff, the search kicks into another gear this weekend with the Cardinals' first matchup agsint the Houston Texans. These key components will be what Whiz and company will be on the lookout for over the next four weeks.
1. Tenacity: Players with a mean streak who pin their ears back and go full throttle when they get the chance are a coach's dream. Tenacity is especially valuable on special teams, where most of the players on the bubble will find a spot on the team. Hines Ward, Terrell Davis and several others are prime examples of how playing with a blue-collar mentality can translate to success down the road.
2. Consistency: Nothing frustrates a coach more than a player who makes a great play, then commits a mental mistake on the next down. Players who maintain a consistent level of play – knowing assignments, not committing unnecessary penalties, going hard until the whistle blows – make a coach's job easy when their name comes up on cut days.
3. A Quarterback That Moves the Offense Down the Field: Cards' fans are yearning to see this out of Matt Leinart. A quarterback that can manage the offense, put points on the board and get the ball in the hands of playmakers is a very encouraging sign in the preseason. While the offense is going to be very "vanilla" until the regular season begins, a signal-caller who can change calls at the line, hit his targets and show his progression from last season is a great sign going forward.
4. Technique/Adjustments: Seeing a player in training camp and seeing them in a game environment are two very different things. How a player performs against someone fighting for a roster spot on their own team can tell you a great deal of what kind of player they are. This situation answers the tough questions: does a player maintain sound technique when he is tired? If something is not working, can they tweak and adjust their play accordingly? These are some of the finer points of a player's game that could make or break their "fight for 53."
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