Newcomers Rule Cardinals' Starting Lineup

Deuce Lutui (Getty)

Will Deuce Lutui retain his starting spot at right guard or will Reggie Wells seize the opportunity? How is newcomer Alan Faneca adjusting to the heat? With at least seven new starters, how will the Cardinals adjust in 2010? Find out these answers and more inside.

As expected, guard Deuce Lutui signed his qualifying offer before the June 15 deadline.

Lutui will make $1.76 million, if he makes the team. And that's not a certainty, even though Lutui has started for most of the past four seasons. Lutui's future with the club came into question this offseason when he elected to stay away from workouts. The club also signed veterans Rex Hadnot and Alan Faneca.

Faneca immediately became a starter at left guard, with Reggie Wells moving from left guard to right. Hadnot played well last season for Cleveland, even though he struggled with a knee injury early in the season.

Lutui finds himself in serious competition for his job. Wells is coming off a disappointing season, but he is a smart veteran who has played well in the past. Lutui has a tendency to gain weight, and he's the type of player who needs a lot of practice snaps to grasp concepts. He missed all that in the off-season, which won't help his bid to regain his old job.

NOTES

  • The club could have at least seven new starters, four of them on defense. The offseason workouts normally are drudgery for veterans, but with all the changes, the practices were needed this year, said receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

    "It definitely was needed," said receiver Larry Fitzgerald. "I don't think I'm any different from anybody else, I was always worried about what was going to be different."

  • OG Alan Faneca signed with the team just before minicamp in May, and he's not complaining about spending the last two months in Arizona.

    "I've never been one to hate on these days of the summer," Faneca said. "It's a necessary evil. You go throw it. You get better. You work on what you screwed up last year, so when you come into training camp you are ready to roll."

  • Preseason magazines are starting to hit the newsstands. The Cardinals likely won't be picked to win a third consecutive division title.

    "That's not different; that's the way it's been ever since I've been here," Whisenhunt said. "I'm fine with that."

    Time and some offseason moves have Whisenhunt feeling much better about his team than he did on the first day of free agency. Safety Antrel Rolle and linebacker Karlos Dansby left via free agency, and receiver Anquan Boldin was traded.

    "I feel a lot better about where our squad is and where we are, as an offseason goes, than when it started back a couple of months ago," he said. "It's gone from a period of being unsettled to a period of excitement."

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