Arizona Cardinals versus the Pittsburgh Steelers: Examining the Initial Depth Chart

The first preseason game of the year doesn't mean very much to the football world outside of a select few of crazed fans who have been salivating over the thought of real football for going on six months. One of the things that the first preseason game of the year does provide though is the first look at an 'official' depth chart and the Arizona Cardinals put out their first chart yesterday. Now word to the wise, Whisenhunt doesn't like to tweak the chart prior to the first game so he basically inserts each rookie's name at the bottom and leaves most of the rest unchanged. Thanks to a change in defensive philosophy though (or at least a continued shift towards a 3-4), there are some changes on the defensive side of the ball. With a quick look at how this current roster plays out on paper, here's a quick analysis of the depth chart.

Offense

QB -- Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart, Brian St. Pierre, Tyler Palko

RB -- Tim Hightower, Chris Wells, Jason Wright, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Chris Vincent

FB -- Dan Kreider, Tim Castille, Reagan Maui'a

WR -- Larry Fitzgerald, Jerheme Urban, Sean Morey, Onrea Jones, Ed Gant

WR -- Anquan Boldin. Steve Breaston, Early Doucet, Lance Long, Michael Ray Garvin

TE -- Leonard Pope, Ben Patrick, Stephen Spach, Anthony Becht, Dominique Byrd

LT -- Mike Gandy, Elliot Vallejo, Brandon Pearce

LG -- Reggie Wells, Elton Brown, Carlton Medder

C -- Lyle Sendlein, Ben Claxton, Melvin Fowler

RG -- Deuce Lutui, Brandon Keith, Trevor Canfield

RT -- Levi Brown, Oliver Ross, Herman Johnson

Overall there aren't really any surprises on the offensive side of the ball, unless you didn't think Pope would be listed atop the tight end spot. There has been some shake-up on the offensive line with the injury to Vallejo though with Oliver Ross swinging over to left tackle and Brandon Keith taking snaps at right tackle.

Defense

DE -- Calais Campbell, Kenny Iwebema, Alex Field

NT -- Bryan Robinson, Gabe Watson, Alan Branch

DT -- Darnell Dockett, Keilen Dykes, Rodney Leisle

ROLB -- Chike Okeafor, Bertrand Berry, Will Davis

ILB -- Karlos Dansby, Victor Hobson, Pago Togafau

ILB -- Gerald Hayes, Ali Highsmith, Reggie Walker

LOLB -- Clark Haggans, Cody Brown, Chase Bullock

RCB -- Bryant McFadden, Ralph Brown, Wilrey Fontenot, Jameel Dowling

LCB -- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Michael Adams, Greg Toler

SS -- Adrian Wilson, Aaron Francisco, Keith Lewis

FS -- Antrel Rolle, Matt Ware, Dennis Keyes, Rashad Johnson

The interesting thing about the defensive chart is how they chose to describe their defensive line (yes that's not a typo). They've chosen to list only one defensive end, a nose tackle and a defensive tackle for some unknown reason. This is nothing more than a conspiracy theory on my part but if the organization cares at all about "NINE-O" (Dockett) making the Pro Bowl, it would make sense to list him as a tackle instead of an end. There aren't any major surprises at linebacker but it's interesting to see that Hobson is listed on the inside and Bullock is listed on the outside (after he worked primarily on the inside during OTA's). In the secondary, I wouldn't get worried about Toler and Rashad Johnson being listed at the bottom of the depth chart. As we said above, this is the "Whiz way" of handling rookies and we'll see how the chart get's tweaked as the preseason plays out.

Specialists

KR -- Steve Breaston, Michael Ray Garvin, LaRod Stephens-Howling

PR -- Steve Breaston, Antrel Rolle, Michael Ray Garvin

K -- Neil Rackers

P -- Ben Graham

LS -- Mike Leach

H -- Ben Graham, Sean Morey

There aren't really any suprises in the specialist department either. Garvin is clearly a return specialist and if he ends up on the final squad it'll be because he won the kick and/or punt return job.

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