Cardinals vs. Saints: 5 Things to Watch in Cards' Hall of Fame Game

Frank Wagner@Fw1812Correspondent IAugust 5, 2012

Cardinals vs. Saints: 5 Things to Watch in Cards' Hall of Fame Game

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    It's finally here.

    For the first time since they took down the Seahawks to finish 8-8 on New Years Day, the Cardinals take the field for a game.

    Sure, it is only a preseason game, and one of five at that.

    However, after the Cards finished last season 7-2 in their last nine games following a string of disappointing close losses, any type of game cannot come soon enough.

    So other than seeing Arizona play for the first time in over seven months, why should we tune in tonight?

    Well, while the result of this game is obviously not the most important thing, there are some very important battles going on at each position. Further, there are some potential emerging stars to watch for as they try to make a quick impact on the team.

    Without further ado, here are the five things to watch for in tonight's Cardinals game.

Cornerback Play

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    We all know that Patrick Peterson will be starting on one side of the Arizona defense this season, but who will start on the other?

    New Cardinal William Gay was a starter on the Steelers last year and is the favorite to win the position. However, the Cards have no shortage of competition.

    Greg Toler is coming off an injury last year after recording 90 tackles and two interceptions in 2010.

    AJ Jefferson started last year after Toler went down injured, getting 66 tackles and an interception. Third-round pick Jamell Fleming has been very impressive in minicamp.

    Even Michael Adams (maybe you remember him from his sack on Aaron Rodgers in the 2010 Wild Card game) could be in the mix.

    This should be fun to watch.

Wide Receivers Not Named Larry

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    Again, we know who is starting in one of the positions, but Arizona has some interesting players fighting for that second spot.

    Andre Roberts is the probable starter after catching 51 balls for 586 yards last season.

    Early Doucet returns to the team with after the best season of his career.

    Michael Floyd is certainly the guy to watch, though. The rookie out of Notre Dame has great potential and will be looking to impress as soon as possible.

    DeMarco Sampson, Stephen Williams and LaRon Byrd round out the bottom of the wide receiver corps and should have an interesting fight for a spot on the depth chart.

Tight Ends

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    With Jeff King out of the game tonight, the door is open for two other tight ends to make their cases as Arizona's top tight end.

    Veteran Todd Heap came on late last season, catching almost half of his season receptions in the last three games.

    Meanwhile, Rob Housler heads into his second year looking to build upon what was a solid rookie season.

    With how much the Cardinals' two quarterbacks like to target tight ends, expect these two to get chances to make a statement.

Running Backs

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    With the duo who will get most of the snaps during the season (Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams) both out of action tonight, it becomes a showcase for players looking to make the team.

    LaRod Stephens-Howling should get some good playing time, but won't have much to do given his importance on kickoff returns.

    Alfonso Smith was in the team last season and got some playing time.

    However, William Powell, Javarris James and Thomas Clayton will be looking to establish themselves.


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    This one almost goes without saying.

    Kolb heads into the preseason as the starter, but his position is not nearly secure enough to endure being outplayed over these five games.

    Skelton has already established a bit of an advantage over Kolb heading into this game: Kolb's best target, Jeff King (10.4 yards per reception compared to 5.6 with Skelton), is out for the game.

    This is definitely the position everyone should watch throughout Arizona's preseason. 


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