Arizona Cardinals training camp battles update


Ongoing competition continues for both starting and roster spots with the Arizona Cardinals and the intensity is fierce

A starting gig with the Arizona Cardinals is not an easy job to come by these days. As a matter of fact, just making the final roster is a hard enough task in itself.

They say that competition brings out the best in players. If that’s true then Arizona should be in for a very special year. With less than three weeks til opening day, some tough final decisions will need to be made very soon.

The most talked about battle so far has been for the starting cornerback spot opposite Patrick Peterson. While rookie Brandon Williams has received accolades, he doesn’t quite appear ready to start. Veteran Mike Jenkins has returned from a broken hand and could be a dark horse for the job.

The fight for the starting center position hasn’t been much of a fight at all so far. Eight-year pro A.Q. Shipley appears to be easily holding off another rookie, Evan Boehm. Boehm, like Williams, doesn’t seem ready to assume such an important role this season.

If there’s one thing this preseason has shown is that QB Carson Palmer’s successor is not on the roster. Drew Stanton has been awful and will most likely be gone when his contract runs out, if not before. There’s also a good possibility that the team doesn’t carry a 3rd QB on the roster. Matt Barkley has done nothing to warrant a roster spot and UDFA Jake Coker seems destined for the practice squad.

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Assuming the Cards keep six wide receivers, an interesting decision may be looming for the last spot. Brittan Golden has been with the club since 2013 but is being pushed by 2015 practice squad member Jaxon Shipley. Shipley is being given a real opportunity and has gotten a load of playing time to prove himself.

A trio of edge rushers may be vying for just one last outside linebacker position. Three spots are assured with Chandler Jones, Markus Golden and Alex Okafor. Kareem Martin, Shaq Riddick and former CFL player Tristan Okpalaugo are the remaining candidates.

A couple of quality free agents remain unsigned and could help the club if they were brought aboard. Right tackle D.J. Humphries isn’t really being pushed currently but that could change with the signing of veteran Will Beatty. Cornerback Keenan Lewis is receiving interest and would be a good bet to start opposite Peterson if healthy.

The last area worth discussing is the special teams. Neither Daniel Dillon or Kameron Canaday have been named successor to retired long snapper Mike Leach as of yet. Chandler Catanzaro has already missed two preseason field goals so maybe another kicker should be signed to push him.