By now, we all know all the starting jobs are all but locks. There are a few that are up for grabs, but those jobs are between two people. However as you look down the roster, things become more and more interesting. Most fans don't take an interest in the battle for a third string job, but the fans on ROTB aren't most fans. Today we'll look at a handful of positional battles to watch come Friday.
Brandon Williams vs ?:
Bruce Arians has dubbed Brandon Williams the starter opposite of Patrick Peterson, simply because Williams has no competition. With Justin Bethel and Tyrann Mathieu sidelined by injury, Williams has battled a number of veterans with little experience in the NFL. Williams has fended them off by wowing fans and coaches by his ability to come back from a bad play. Countless times, coaches and teammates have complimented him on his veteran like approach in camp.
Williams will be thrown into the fire Friday, drawing both Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. It's likely they won't be on the field more than a drive, so the first few plays will be crucial for fans to evaluate Williams. He will likely be on the field when the other starters are on the sideline, because of the fact that the team needs to see him play. Can he continue to impress us? Or will Friday be the first time we see him struggle?
Battle for the Sixth Receiver:
On the Depth Chart released Monday, there's a slight "upset" for the sixth receiver spot. Chris Hubert is ahead of Brittan Golden. Hubert has made big plays almost every day this camp, which has drawn the praise and watchful eye of Bruce Arians. This Depth Chart is essentially the "Pre-Pre-Pre-Preliminary" depth chart, meaning it has absolutely no value next week. Hubert is a player I have kept an eye on in the Twitter world, hoping for someone to update us on a big play. If the Cardinals carry six, Hubert will have to show he's a capable return man, or be able to add something on Special Teams.
Barkley v Coker:
It's a battle every year. "Will the Cardinals keep three QB's?" I've been a fan of Matt Barkley's for awhile, so I will root for him to be on the roster come week one, but he will have an uphill fight on his hands. Does he have the arm that he had before the injury? Does he make the right progressions? Those are just some of the questions that Arians and fans will want to see an answer for on Friday.
Jake Coker on the other hand is likely just a camp arm. I had a brief 24 hour man crush... Until I saw him throw. The throw just looks awkward to me personally, it takes too long to come out of his hand which is an issue in the NFL. Has he shortened that up? That's to be seen.
Battle of the Punters:
I said this earlier in the offseason. I see a punting battle brewing. It may not have been lit in Training Camp, but come gameday, Drew Butler will be looking over his shoulder.
Garrett Swanson was given an "Undrafted" grade by many of the Draft guides. One knock by many was not following through with his kicks. Was he able to work through that? Despite that fact, he still averaged equivalent numbers to Butler's. Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but maybe there's a changing of the guard at Punter.
Those are just a few to keep an eye on when the Cardinals battle the Raiders. Long Snapper is another, but truly, how many of us know what to watch for when they snap? Until one botches a snap, I don't think fans will truly know who's winning.
It's finally football time. That means we get seven months of bickering and arguing with other NFC West fans, and of course, among ourselves here at ROTB.