Last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Arizona Cardinals’ usually explosive offensive attack was held in check for the majority of the game. However, at this point in the season, defenses are generally ahead in their progress opposed to the offensive side of the ball. Nonetheless, RB Tim Hightower continues to display explosiveness and could be in line to lock up the starting running back spot with Chris Wells slowed by injuries.
QB Kurt Warner and Arizona’s talented wide receivers received little playing time in the preseason opener but will likely see more action against the San Diego Chargers. Developing chemistry and timing is vital this time of year with game situations proving as the most beneficial preparation tool. WR Steve Breaston is expected to be held out of action but the Pro Bowl tandem of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin could be on the field for the entire first half.
On defense, finding productive blitzing formations will be a top priority of defensive coordinator Bill Davis. The Cardinals feature several capable pass rushers but must determine how to fully utilize each individual’s talent. Veterans Chike Okeafor, Clark Haggans and Bertrand Berry have already demonstrated their abilities on numerous occasions but younger players such as rookie LB Cody Brown stands to gain valuable experience.
The offensive line is another area where work still needs to be done. Since arriving in Arizona as offensive line coach, Russ Grimm has done a fantastic job with the Cardinals’ group in the trenches. Additionally, Arizona has accumulated valuable depth and talent through the draft and free agency. Grimm, now co-offensive coordinator, will need to continue to mold the offensive line as the Cardinals aim towards becoming a more balanced offense in 2009.
The positional battles along the offensive line have gone as expected but the possibility of a shakeup still remains. Versatile OL Brandon Keith continues to make strides and although he’d be hard pressed to unseat starting guards Reggie Wells or Deuce Lutui, there is an outside chance. Keith can also play on the perimeter but LT Mike Gandy has been Arizona’s most consistent offensive lineman and the team has invested heavily in RT Levi Brown, leaving Keith on the outside looking in for now.
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