Seven days until game one. Today is the last non-NFL Sunday and day one of most teams preparing for game one of the upcoming season. The NFL season kicks off in four days in New York.
So, time to meet your 2008 Arizona Cardinals.
Quarterbacks: Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart, Brian St. Pierre – It was nice to see the Cardinals carry three quarterbacks this season. If there was one knock on the the roster last season it was the Cardinals were left to scramble when both Leinart and Warner were hurt. That left Tim Rattay as the only available option. Tim Hasselbeck was brought in, but really didn’t see any action. Warner has been tabbed as the starter, for now. I wouldn’t be surprised to Leinart quickly though if Warner struggles.
Running Backs: Edgerrin James, Tim Hightower, J.J.Arrington – Edge didn’t play much, but we pretty much know what to expect from the Cardinals leading rusher. Tim Hightower was, as I predicted, a pleasant surprise. The rookie back out of Richmond was impressive when given the chance to run. J.J. Arrington also had his best stretch of games preseason and regular season since joining the redbirds three years ago.
Wide Receivers: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet, Sean Morey, Jehreme Urban. It’s a deep crew. Breaston and Urban had good preseasons. The big question mark remains Boldin, He doesn’t want to be here, but is going to continue to play until the Cards trade him, which most likely will not happen until the off-season at the earliest.
Fullbacks: Tim Castille, Terrelle Smith. Castille is the better receiver and Smith is the better blocker. Take your choice.
Tight Ends: Leonard Pope, Ben Patrick, Jereme Tuman. Pope here is the man. Patrick provides good relief and is a ok fill-in when Pope can’t go.
Offensive Line: Deuce Lutui, Reggie Wells, Al Johnson, Lyle Sendlein, Elliot Vallejo, Gabe Watson, Brandon Keith, Mike Gandy, Levi Brown. Keith and Vallejo are the young ones here, everyone else has some experience on them. Lutui is now in his third season as is Leinart and it’s time to put up or shut up. Al Johnson should only miss the first game as it stands right now and will be counted on as the man under center. Until he returns, Sendlein will take over the center position.
Outlook for 2008: Arizona scored 404 points last season. That was a 90 point improvement over the 2006 campaign. I can’t sit here and tell you to expect another 90 point improvement, however they may have to reach 450 points at least if they expect to contend for a wild card spot or the division. A lot will depend on the consistency of the quarterback position.