The quarterback position is often the most heralded one no matter what team in the NFL you are a fan of. Such is the case with the Arizona Cardinals, who currently have a battle ensuing between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton to see who will be the starting signal caller in 2012.
But the QB position isn't the only position on the roster, despite what ESPN might tell you. There are plenty of other position battles going on within the Cardinals roster and tonight's game against the Titans will give us a better indication on which players are going to step up.
With Levi Brown out, D.J. Young and D'Anthony Batiste have become the main competitors to take over the starting job at left tackle. I hope and predict that Young looks good in pass protection, but the drop off in run blocking production from Brown could be significant. Batiste will still get time with the other starters at left tackle, but I think Young will make the case for being the starter come week one due to his upside and good lateral ability for the position.
The other tackle position appears to be in shambles as well. D'Anthony Batiste will start the game at right tackle, but if last week's performance against the Raider is any indicator, he may not last long. That will leave rookie Bobby Massie and veteran Jeremy Bridges in the wings, waiting to take his spot. I don't think Batiste will be in the starting lineup come week one, with Bridges taking over his spot instead. Massie has just looked too green up until this point and must improve in pass protection. He should do decently tonight, but the defensive line of the Titans is never one to underestimate.
I am not sure if Beanie Wells is slated to play tonight against the Titans, but if he does, I think he will play sparingly, but well. He looked explosive in Flagstaff and is hungry to get back on the field and hold onto his starting job. Ryan Williams, his main competitor, has been fantastic and he should play fantastic as well. This is one problem that the coaching staff is glad they have.
Wide Receiver #2:
Andre Roberts is currently slated to be the #2 receiver across from Larry Fitzgerald once the season starts and I think it will stay that way. It's not that rookie Michael Floyd has looked bad, it's just that Roberts has more familiarity with the offense and Coach Whisenhunt prefers a veteran presence to start. Both will look good tonight against Tennessee and I think in the long term, Floyd will be the #2 receiver with Roberts in the slot.
So far, free agent acquisition William Gay has been nothing spectacular as the team's second cornerback. With all of the depth the Cards have at that position, it would be foolish not to look at some other options. Greg Toler is my favorite to stand across from Patrick Peterson come week one, but A.J. Jefferson and rookie Jamell Fleming are in the running as well. Toler might not play tonight due to his knee issues, so that will not help his case for being the starter. The plan is for Gay to look much improved in coverage and in his tackling skills, which I think he will.
Against the Titans, I think Stewart Bradley will continue to show the excellence he has had all throughout the preseason. Paris Lenon should be back, but at this point, I believe it is Bradley's job to lose as the starting inside linebacker. Reggie Walker also looks good in nickel situations, so I assume Lenon's role will be drastically reduced in 2012.
What do you think? Where do you see the position battles going tonight and into the regular season? Tell us in the comments section.
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