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Friday September 5, 2008 10:33 pm

NFL Preview: Arizona Cardinals

Posted by Juan Ruiz Categories: NFL,

Larry Fitzgerald gets it done for the Arizona Cardinals

2007 RECORD: 8-8

Overview: The most interesting yet challenging team to write about are the Arizona Cardinals. Led by head coach Ken Whisenhunt, every preseason the Cardinals look like a team that could compete for the divisional title. That has yet to happen. On paper, this offense looks stacked with a lot of talent, headed by quarterbacks Matt Leinert and the experienced veteran Kurt Warner, as well as freshly re-signed wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and (a disgruntled) Anquan Boldin, the offense looks like a powerhouse that its rivals need to take notice of. Unfortunately, they have yet to play to their potential on the offensive side of the ball, and for the last few seasons, have been rebuilding their defense.  This preseason yet again, I am putting the Cardinals in contention for the NFC West crown.

Offense: Leinart and Warner have been battling it out for the starting position this entire preseason, but in the end the veteran Warner won the job. When Leinart went down last season with a shoulder injury, Warner came and proved to all of us that he still has that spark that can allow his team to win.  At wide receiver, both Fitzgerald and Boldin are going to be the powerhouses on the offensive side of the ball. If they can both stay healthy, those two can continue to put out Pro Bowl type numbers. And don’t forget that RB Edgerrin James rushed for over 1000 yards last season.  The main objective for this offense this season is to see if the aging offense of the Cardinals can remain healthy through 17 + weeks of football.

Defense: The Cardinals have never been known as a hard-nosed defensive unit, and this year doesn’t necessarily appear to be any different. The defense is anchored by veteran strong safety Adrian Wilson, and linebacker Karlos Dansby. This side of the ball is a hit-and-miss type of unit. Every once in a while, they surprise everyone, and end up dominating a game. But, oftentimes, they disappear and allow offenses to take over the game. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast has a challenging 2008 season ahead of him trying to keep this defensive unit competitive and healthy. The Cardinals have a, for lack of a better word, HARD schedule in 2008. Some of the great offenses that the Cardinals are going to play against are the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, and the Seattle Seahawks twice. Those teams will be the biggest challenges for this up and coming defense.
Rookies: The 2008 draft class for the Arizona Cardinals focused primarily on the defensive side of the ball. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie the cornerback from Tennessee State was the Cardinals first round selection.  Four out of the seven selections made by the Cardinals were defensive players, and three of those players were defensive ends.  The Cardinals mainly focused on their weak defensive positions that they are hoping can improve in 2008. Arizona is another team that drafted out of necessity at a position, and not luxury.

Prediction: Whisenhunt has a very tough road ahead of him. Not only will he probably have to juggle around the thought of who starts at quarterback, but he also needs to figure out a resolution for the Anquan Boldin debacle that is now arising, as well as keeping up with a Seahawks team that continually wins this division. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see what type of gumption this team is made of.



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