The Derek Anderson, Matt Leinart, Ken Whisenhunt fiasco has dominated the headlines for the last week, but there is something much more important on the line Thursday night when the Cardinals Take on the Washington Redskins in their final preseason game. The livelihood of certain players hangs in the balance and it will provide for some of the most interesting story-lines and inspired play that fans will witness at University of Phoenix Stadium.
While you're watching the Cards battle the Skins --well, not all of Mike Shanahan's guys, just the ones he deems not important for week one-- keep an eye on the battles going on within the Cardinals own roster.
Marshay Green Vs. Trumaine McBride
The starting cornerback sports seem to be settled with Greg Toler ready to lineup opposite of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Michael Adams a sure thing, it leaves Marshay Green and Trumaine McBride battling each other for a roster spot. McBride is no stranger to making an NFL roster as he was a member of the Chicago Bears for part of the last three seasons while Marshay Green is an undrafted rookie from Mississippi trying to find his way on to his first 53 man roster.
Green has obviously caught the attention of the coaching staff seeing as the Cardinals dealt sixth round pick cornerback Jorrick Calvin, Green's main young competition, to the Eagles earlier this week.
Stevie Baggs Vs. Cody Brown Vs. Monty Beisel
One of the more interesting battles on the roster is the battle at linebacker. There is a three man race to pay attention to between Stevie Baggs, the CFL sack master, Cody Brown, the injured second year rookie and Monty Beisel , the grizzled veteran.
Stevie Baggs came to the Cardinals earlier this year from the Canadian Football League where he played for the Saskatchewan Riders and was considered one of the leagues best defenders. Prior to finding a home in Saskatchewan Baggs played in the Arena Football League, NFL Europe and was on numerous NFL practice squads.
Cody Brown, the Cardinals' second round pick in 2009, has battled back from a wrist injury suffered in training camp last year and cost him his entire rookie season. Brown was impressive at UConn but has failed to prove he was worthy of his high draft selection so far this preseason.
Monty Beisel is a guy most Cardinals fans are familiar with. He's a 9 year NFL veteran and has been on Arizona's on two different occasions. While he is probably the safest bet to make the team because of his experience, he also has the least upside of the three.
Max Hall vs. John Skelton
It may not be the "sexy" quarterback competition but it may be one that has a larger impact on the Cardinals future. If Matt Leinart isn't traded or cut, either Max Hall or John Skelton will probably be elsewhere come next week. Keeping four quarterbacks doesn't seem likely. It also seems unlikely that either would pass through waivers thus being able to placed on the practice squad.
Hall, the undrafted rookie from BYU, seems like the logical choice to be the odd man out but his play in practice and camp has put a lot of pressure on Skelton.The coaching staff seems to favor Hall's ability to comprehend and command the offense.
Skelton hasn't be a slouch himself playing well in his preseason appearances. The fact that he is the first quarterback that Ken Whisenhunt has drafted in his time with the Cardinals, coupled with his solid preseason play may be enough to keep him on the roster.
Than again, this battle may prove to be one for the backup quarterback spot rather than the final roster if Matt Leinart winds up a causality of the major QB controversy.