The Arizona Cardinals’ depth chart is far from settled. With only two more preseason games to judge from, the following players and units better shape up or they might have to ship out. While the Cardinals coaching staff won’t expose much game plan, they’ll use Saturday night’s exhibition game against the Chicago Bears come decision time.
5. Offensive Line
Take your pick, nearly all the linemen were in the dog house following last week’s preseason game. The Titans defense exposed several weak spots, but there could be better days on the horizon. Our publisher Brad Wilbricht reported a more encouraging performance from the offensive line this week against that same Titans defense. The Cardinals used an uncommon co-practice to their advantage. Arizona will get just one crack at the Bears.
4. Trumaine McBride
Depending on who you ask, McBride’s stock is falling. The fact is, he posted a dismal performance against Tennessee, but we didn’t see much, neither good nor bad, from Greg Toler. The popular opinion is that Toler will win the starting nod and be atop the depth chart as soon as Saturday. While the Cardinals are invested in Toler’s development, McBride isn’t afraid of putting in the work. He still has fight in him.
3. Calais Campbell
If you are perplexed or feeling down about the preseason Cardinals, keep your eyes dialed in on C-Squared. He’s a beast, not only in stature, but also on the field. He speaks softly, and carries a big game. Against the Titans, he led the Cardinals in tackles and isn’t afraid to go full speed in the preseason. While Campbell is in, the Cardinals should feel good about their defense. He’ll make the first half against Chicago enjoyable to watch, at least on defense.
2. LaRod Stephens-Howling
Another, if all-else-fails player, is Stephens-Howling. The budding special teams star is one to follow. On returns, he makes shedding defenders look like child’s play. Stephens-Howling is chomping at the bit. His enthusiasm is welcomed, and he should be good for some big runs and big special team plays in Chicago.
1. Derek Anderson
It was Matt Leinart’s starting role to lose, and he may have lost it. Anderson is the named starter heading into the weekend, but nothing is set in stone. The Cardinals are begging for intensity and command of the offense from Leinart who hasn’t instilled much confidence in the quarterback position. The downside for Leinart, is the Cardinals know how he performs in an off-the-bench role. They need to see his performance straight out of the tunnel.
The most interesting aspect to watch in Saturday’s game will be the amount of playing time Whisenhunt gives each signal caller. All signs point to Whisenhunt not worried about the final scoreboard. He’s much more concerned with evaluating players and keeping his playbook under wraps. Remember the Cardinals 2009 season finale against the Green Bay Packers? The Cardinals were vanilla on both sides of the ball to keep their game plans under lock and key for a playoff re-match the following week. The same approach seems to be the theme this preseason.
Amberly Dressler is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America and has contributed to Scout.com since 2007. Her work has been published on FoxSports.com and MySpace Sports, with appearances on NFL Network, ESPN Radio and Pro Football Central.
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