As the Arizona Cardinals head into their last preseason game against the Denver Broncos, a larger than normal emphasis will be put on the game compared to previous preseason's.
Some of the changes will be the starters playing a few series in the game. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has alluded that the 1st team will play, but only for a few series.
Most of the energy this game will be to figure out the final 53 of the roster. With several players in position battles, it is anyone's guess what the final roster will look like. With a lockout shortened preseason, game 4 will have more of an impact on the roster than it has before.
After the jump, some of those positions.
The CB position was one of the most interesting preseason roster battles, but due to the unfortunate injury to Greg Toler it has cleared up the picture some. The question that does remain is will Patrick Peterson or Richard Marshall start opposite to AJ Jefferson?
The RB/FB position has also undergone change to another very unfortunate injury to 2nd round pick Ryan Williams. Beanie Wells is the unchallenged starter, with Larod Stephens-Howling backing him up. After that questions remain, will Alfonso Smith make the grade? Most signs point to yes. Has Reagan Maui'a played himself onto the roster forcing the team to consider keeping two FB's? Rookie 5th round pick Anthony Sherman has had a solid preseason and can contribute to special teams making Maui'as roster spot unlikely.
The LB position is another interesting roster battle. For now it seems the top 8 guys are in: Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, Paris Lenon, Daryl Washington, Stewart Bradley, O'Brien Schofield, Sam Acho and Reggie Walker. This puts Quan Sturdivant on the bubble, as well as Will Davis who had a solid preseason last year. Will Quan show enough to beat out Walker or is he destined for the PS?
The WR position was probably the fiercest of the position battles this offseason. Max Komar has already been released ending much speculation about his roster spot. Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, and Early Doucet are locks for the roster. Darren Urban predicts the team will keep six with Stephen Williams, DeMarco Sampson and Chansi Stuckey filling in the last 3 spots. Unless Isiah Williams shows something special, or the team only keeps 5 WR's it seems the roster is set at WR.
There also remains some questions at the OL spots, to whether Floyd Womack will make the roster, if we keep an extra DB due to Adrian Wilson's injury, and whether or not we keep 4 TE's.
Roster cuts are expected over the weekend, until than we can only speculate what will happen. Hopefully preaseason game number 4 gives us some clarity.