Arizona begins preparations for season opener

Ken Whisenhunt (Getty)

The Arizona Cardinals will battle the Carolina Panthers at home in the regular-season opener.

--Coach Ken Whisenhunt is putting his team on a normal regular-season schedule this week. They had the weekend off, and many players flew home. They practiced Monday, will take Tuesday off, then work the rest of the week preparing for the Panthers game on Sept. 11.

--Carolina quarterback Cam Newton won a national championship in his final collegiate game at University of Phoenix Stadium. He'll play his first NFL game there, too, and the Cardinals will have respect for him, defensive end Darnell Dockett said.

"I'll treat him just like any other quarterback," Dockett said. "He's the first pick of the draft for a reason. He's a great player, and I don't go into the game underestimating him. One thing I know about quarterbacks. You give them enough time, no matter who's back there, they get the ball out."

--Whisenhunt isn't saying yet who will the back up behind quarterback Kevin Kolb. Expectations are that it will be Rich Bartel. John Skelton has missed two preseason games with a high ankle sprain. He practiced on Monday.

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