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Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos: 5 Things to Watch for

Today officially marks the near end of the 2009 preseason. After four long weeks, the Arizona Cardinals wrap up their preseason tonight against the Denver Broncos. I think I speak for everybody when I say thank god the preseason is just about over. But tonight the Cardinals, or should I say the second string team has to take on the Broncos reserves in which should be an exciting battle till the end, ok maybe it won't be but there's sure to be some things to watch for, and that's what we'll break down today. Remember that last weeks game didn't get exciting until the agonising first half slaughter was over reserves came out in the second half. Here's five things to watch for tonight:

  • Will Matt Leinart come out on fire tonight?After last weeks incredible showing by Leinart, we could see the same performance tonight against the Broncos. It also wouldn't be a surprise to see a similar stat line, especially considering that Kurt Warnerwill likely not play, if at all. With that in mind, expect to see a large chunk of playing time for Leinart during this game.
  • Beanie Well's second NFL game. Last week many of us were anticipating the debut of Chris Wells and we were not disappointed. Wells came into the game and couldn't have looked anymore impressive. This week he should get a decent amount of playing time since Tim Hightower won't. Watch to see how he does against Denver's suspect defense. They were terrible last year and haven't started the preseason that great, giving up an average of 107 rushing yards a game, with 27 attempts, a 3.9 yard average and 2 touchdowns allowed.
  • The amount of playing time for the first team defense. Last week we saw a defense that didn't come out with any passion or chemistry. Granted it was a preseason game, but it frustrated many Cardinal fans, and the coaching staff, who made the starters stay in the game well into the third quarter. You have to wonder if they'll make them play a meaningful amount of time tonight to get the chemistry possibly flowing.
  • Will a tight end ever step up?So far this preseason we haven't seen much of the Cardinals tight ends, and you can rule a competitive battle for the starting position out the window. So far Stephen Spach has went from a playoff favorite to a preseason dud, by dropping balls and committing penalties. Leonard Pope has been invisible on the receiving end, and that's his strong suit! I don't even know what to say about what's his name Anthony Becht (considering I had to look up the Cardinals roster because I forgot his name). As we all know Ben Patrick is out for the first four games, but did he ever dominantly declare himself the starter? The only tight end that's stuck out in my mind is Dominique Byrd, who's made the blocks when he's needed to, and has been able to catch the ball when it was thrown his way.
  • The fight for 53. The most important part of the game to watch for is the fight for 53. The Cardinals make their final cut this Saturday, when they drop their roster to 53 players. This means a good amount of solid players that we've already grown accustomed to, will likely be released. This last game is the most important to these bubble players, as it could determine who makes the team. Players like Lance Long, Matt Ware, Victor Hobson, Alan Branch, or one of the tight ends I named above, may not be a Cardinal after this Saturday.


    That's it for this game. Hopefully we can see a competitive game out of the reserves, otherwise I might have to record the second half to skip through later. Although it's only the preseason, it would be nice for the Cardinals to get a win before the 49ers come to town. Is there anything else important that comes to mind? What else should we watch for?