Regular season is here and the Arizona Cardinals kick of 2015 with a home opener against the New Orleans Saints. There's been quite a few changes to the Cardinals of 2014, some of which will need to be vetted in such a way that only a live sixty minutes of competition will do. What should Cards fans be focused on with regards to the Saints and their matchups?
How will the RT spot look?
Earl Watford gets his number called as starting RT for the Cardinals. Coaches are high on Watford's potential and preseason play. How will Earl perform when thrust into the spotlight for sixty minutes of play? For the Cardinals to be successful, Watford needs to be at least equal to, if not better than what Bobby Massie brought at the tackle spot.
OL/RB vs Saints run D.
Lets face it, last year the Cards didn't run the ball well at all. Bad doesn't begin to shed a light on what transpired for the Cards via the ground, but the combined might of Steve Keim and Bruce Arians set about to change that. They lured in LG Mike Iupati, a steal from division rival San Francisco 49ers. However, Iupati suffered a setback in training camp and will miss a few regular season games. The front office also signed Chris Johnson to split time with fully healed Andre Ellington and newly drafted David Johnson. Now we need to see how a makeshift offensive line and a stable of similar backs perform, this is that time.
My kingdom for a TE...
Preseason was not kind to the Cardinals, as it robbed us of TE play-maker Ifeanyi Momah due to a meniscus tear. Injury has already thinned he Cards at TE, with Troy Niklas and Jermaine Gresham still not game ready. Working the roster cut line, the Cards took a flier on recently cut product Joseph Fauria. How will this last minute signing pan out for a coach and offense that like to utilize two tight end sets quite often?
Before Palmer went down for the season with a knee injury, he was on fire, leading the Cardinals in Coach Arians' offense like Patton on the battlefield. Will 2015 be the resurgence of Palmer and the Cardinals deadly vertical attack Can that damaged knee hold up against a hungry defense? As Palmer goes, so do I expect the offense to.
Pass rush man, pass run
The Cardinals need to find a second option at edge rusher aside of Alex Okafor. they've drafted a pair of rookies and pulled in a veteran from another team. Can the trio of Markus Golden, LaMaar Woodley and Shaq Riddick generate the pass rush pressure the Cards are looking for, or will the sacks come from scheming?
It's Bettcher's world
Speaking of scheming, how will newly minted defensive coordinator James Bettcher show in his first outing? Todd Bowles left some large shoes to fill, and a talented group on the defensive side of the ball that if combined with a great defensive mind could be something special. Is that that combination?