Preparing for Preseason Opener
Posted by Brad Wilbricht
August 13 - Friday, 8:00 a.m.
The Cardinals continue their preparations for Saturday's preseason opener against the Houston Texans. The team's intensity in practice has decreased over the past couple days and that continued on Thursday.
Amongst the highlights was solid play from the quarterbacks and the wide receivers. Both Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson were on target for most of the day and limited their mistakes. Leinart's tendency to have two or three good practices followed by a clunker continues and hopefully his off-day won't be against Houston.
Wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston showed the secondary a few of their tricks, beating them for touchdowns during practice. Second-year CB Greg Toler had gotten the best of Fitzgerald a handful of times recently but Fitzgerald was determined to return the favor, which he did. Look for Fitzgerald and Breaston to play a quarter or less on Saturday, allowing the team's younger receivers an opportunity.
The defensive line has been dominate throughout camp so far and the defense will need that to continue during game action this weekend. With major questions at linebacker and cornerback, the defensive line will be counted on to carry the load particularly this time of year. Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell and company certainly look as if they're up for the task. Also helping will be a number of pass rushers at outside linebacker such as Joey Porter, Clark Haggans and Cody Brown.
Another area were battles are set to begin is along the offensive line. Deuce Lutui is fighting to retain his starting spot at right guard but Reggie Wells currently sits atop the depth chart. Newcomer Alan Faneca is entrenched at left guard but don't forget about Rex Hadnot, another new face that came over this offseason. Hadnot is extremely versatile with the ability to play both guard spots and center. If starter Lyle Sendlein shows any inefficiencies, look for Hadnot to get a shot at center.
The tackle positions could be Arizona's most critical area heading into this season. The majority tend to focus on the quarterbacks but if Levi Brown and Brandon Keith can't protect, it won't matter who's under center. Brown, a former top 10 draft pick, needs to display some sort of dominating presence at left tackle while Keith needs to patrol the blind side of Leinart, providing he doesn't lose the starting job to Anderson
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