Well Cardinal fans it`s almost that time, Training Camp. If your like me, you wish you had a remote to fast forward time. We don`t have such a thing so here`s the next best, a training camp preview.
As we all know, Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton are one and two. Next on the depth chart is Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas. I can see Bruce Arians keeping Thomas, which makes Lindley the odd man out.
Every Cardinal fan is already on the Andre Ellington train and rightfully so. Here`s another train people will be getting on, the Jonathan Dwyer train. Dwyer was the second best back last year for the Steelers and averaged 4.0 yards a carry. Next on the list is Stepfan Taylor, Jalen Parmele, Robert Hughes, and rookies Zach Bauman and Damien Thigpen. I`m not sold on Taylor and believe one of these four could very well steal his spot.
Time for the big uglies and the biggest of them uglies is 6`8 321 left tackle Jared Veldheer. Has anyone seen this guy? Man, I would not want to make him mad. If I ever did you`d see a real life Give Me Three Steps, you`d hear me screaming a mile away as I was heading out towards the door. Veldheer and Calais Campbell are going to have a good camp this year going up against each other. Looking to start at right tackle is Bobby Massie. Arians could also throw Bradley Sowell and Nate Potter in the mix to see how well they do. Also in the mix is Cory Brandon and Kelvin Palmer. Don`t expect to see one or both of these two on the roster, but you never know.
Returning to left guard is Jonathan Cooper, He still is getting caught back up to speed, but he`s back. At right guard there will be a fight. Looking to become a starter will be Paul Fanaika, Earl Watford, Ted Larson, and rookie Anthony Steen. Fanaika is last years starter. Watford is looking to prove himself. Larson was a four-year starter for Tampa Bay. Steen is an All-SEC right guard who got past up in the draft because of a torn labrum. This will be a good match up.
Lyle Sendlein is of course the center. Behind him is John Estes, Tommie Draheim, and Phillip Blake. Blake is also a guard, but I can`t see him making a spot there. Estes and Draheim both have never played a game. Larson and Steen both can play center, so you might just see one of them here. No matter how this unit plays out, this line will grind it out on Sundays. The Grinding Zone.
With the buzz that`s going around, the five receivers are Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd of course, followed by Ted Ginn, Britten Golden, and John Brown. Unless someone stands out, say goodbye to Jaron Brown, Dan Buckner, Kevin Ozier, Kelsey Pope, and Walt Powell.
Everyone, I`d like you all to meet Arians savior, TE Troy Niklas. Niklas is a defensive player, playing on offense. He will be a sixth lineman who is an effective underneath target. Jake Ballard is someone I`d keep. John Carlson is a good player, he just has a history with concussions. Looking for a spot is Darren Fells, Andre Hardy, and Rob Housler. If Housler does`nt improve, I can see him being the first one out the door.
On the defensive side, things are pretty well set.
Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Kareem Martin, and Frostee Rucker are the DE`s. Ed Stinson could make the roster.
Dan Williams and Alameda Ta`amu will continue as the DT`s. Looking for a spot are Anthony McCloud, Christian Tupou, and rookies Bruce Gaston and Justin Renfrow. Arians could very well just stick with Williams and Ta`amu again and cut every last one.
I`d like to welcome back Sam Acho and Alex Okafor to the outside. They will be a big help to John Abraham and Matt Shaughnessy. Marcus Benard and Adrian Tracy are looking for a spot. Unless someone stands out to take over for Abraham next year or so, good luck.
On the inside are Larry Foote, Kevin Minter, Lorenzo Alexander, and Ernie Sims. Sims most likely will be a back up making the fight for the starters between Foote, Minter, and Alexander. Fighting for a spot are Keenan Clayton, Kenny Demens, Jo Jo Dickson and rookies Jonathan Brown and Glen Carson. This is also a match up to watch. Someone between Clayton, Brown, and Carson should make this team.
Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie are the starting CB`s. Justin Bethel should lock up the third spot on the roster. Making Jarraud Powers, Bryann McCann, Teddy Williams and Eddie Whitley fighting for the last spot. Also looking to get into the action are rookies Jimmy Legree, Brandon Sermons, and Todd Washington. This will also be another good match up.
Tyrann Mathieu is back at FS. Tony Jefferson and Rashad Johnson should also make the roster again. At SS there is the first round draft pick Deone Bucannon and Anthony Walters who has playing experience. The other two, Orhian Johnson and Curtis Taylor really don`t bring anything to the table. Unless Johnson and Taylor improved a lot this off-season, I don`t think they`ll make the roster.
With the Cardinals` roster pretty much a lock, most players need to fight for the special teams roster. If most of these players are at least considered good back ups, this is going to make an AWESOME roster.