Arizona Cardinals: One Question for Every Player on the Offense
After one preseason game we might as well decide the roster. Obviously the first preseason game against the Drew Brees-led New Orleans Saints is all the team needs to see to decide the roster and who is going to start.
Just in case you missed it, that was sarcasm.
If the first game of the preseason did anything for fans it was create even more questions. Is John Skelton now ahead in the QB race? Will our line ever be able to pass block? Did Stewart Bradley make a strong case to start over Paris Lenon? How worried should we be?
This two-part piece will go over the offensive and defensive sides of the roster and ask a question of each player on the Arizona Cardinals roster. First, one question for every Cardinal on the offensive side of the ball.
The Quarterback Dilemma
Has Skelton taken the lead in the quarterback race?
It doesn't matter where you stood in the QB race before the game, it is undeniable that Skelton stole the show and is the front-runner to start.
Skelton completed 4-of-6 passes for 32 yards against the Saints' first-team defense. With some help from the run game he moved the team down the field and into scoring position. His poise was very notable.
Can Kolb overcome his terrible start and rebound next game?
It's hard to root for Kolb right now. The guy just is not durable and durability is everything in the NFL.
Kolb will have a lot to overcome if Skelton continues to play well at this point. Kolb, however, can be a capable player and has thrown for over 300 yards several times in his career. If Kolb lights it up next week against the Kansas City Chiefs things could get interesting.
Will Bartel be able to hang onto his roster spot?
Bartel didn't have the most inspiring play against the Saints. He left several plays on the field, including a Rob Housler open down the middle.
Don't count out Bartel, however, since he is a crafty veteran and could bounce back.
Can Lindley beat out Bartel for a roster spot?
Right now most agree that this is likely to happen. Lindley is another strong-armed QB who just stands pat in the pocket. He had a few good moments and flashed his potential against the Saints depth.
Another good showing for Lindley will definitely move him up into the third slot against the Oakland Raiders.
A Healthy Backfield?
Will Beanie Wells picked up where he left off?
After a disappointing sophomore season for Beanie Wells, he bounced back in 2011 to have his first 10 touchdown, 1,000-yard season and set the Cardinals' all-time single-game rushing record with 228 yards.
No one knows how serious Wells' offseason surgery was and if he is going to come back 100 percent. Hopefully he will as the Cardinals will need to lean on the run game this season.
With hype building around Williams, will he perform to expectations?
Like last preseason Williams dazzled coaches and fans alike. He can catch out of backfield, he can cut on a dime and he isn't scared to lower his shoulder. His highly chronicled knee injury is finally close to fully recovered and his confidence is returning.
Larod Stephens-Howling (LSH)
The most pressing question for LSH isn't his ability; it's will the coach staff find ways to get the ball into his hands?
The Cardinals are rumored to be talking to LSH and extending his contract. That is a statement from the Cardinals organization of the confidence they have in him.
This will be a common question for a lot of athletes in this article, but will Alfonso find room on the roster?
If you're fighting for a roster spot, having a good game in the absence of starters is a good way to get yourself noticed. Smith did just that with eight rushes for 46 yards and the Cardinals' only touchdown.
With position battles across the roster, it's going to be a tough road ahead. If Smith can perform consistently he should garner a roster spot.
Can Powell overtake Smith on roster?
Things aren't looking good for Powell at the moment. The position has depth and Powell didn't turn heads against the Saints. He will need to have strong performances the next few games to put himself into consideration.
Will James make the roster?
Can he beat out Anthony Sherman? Good luck.
Cardinals Wide Receiver Depth
Is there a question we can ask him?
It doesn't matter what everyone else says, Cardinals fans know Larry Fitzgerald is the best WR in football.
That is all.
Will Roberts build off of a promising sophomore season?
In his second season with the Cardinals Roberts had a solid year despite QB inconsistency. He had 51 catches for 586 yards and two touchdowns. Most are expecting him to slide to the slot once Michael Floyd earns a starting position.
Roberts looks to be very dangerous from the slot but until he plays that position he will have the responsibility to perform across from Larry Fitzgerald. With the weapons on offense Roberts should have ample opportunities to showcase his talent.
After a disappointing start to his career has Doucet turned the corner?
Like Roberts, Doucet also had his best season yet. He had 54 receptions, 584 yards and caught five TD passes. He also played a full season for the first time in his young career.
Doucet is fighting an uphill battle with Roberts ahead of him and the former first rounder Floyd behind him on the depth chart.
How soon will Floyd crack the starting lineup?
Michael Floyd is a big dude and he isn't afraid to play physically. Having Fitzgerald across from him will help give him more favorable matchups. He also pairs well with Fitzgerald in run-blocking from the WR position, further adding to his value.
The Rest of the Pack
Who will emerge from our Grand Canyon-deep WR depth chart?
With so many WRs, writing about each one would create an article alone.
Laron Byrd, a UDFA from The University of Miami (Fla.) has had a strong camp and a strong preseason showing with four receptions for 54 yards.
DeMarco Sampson, a sixth-round pick from 2011, has been mentioned but hasn't shown up. Look for him these next few games.
Isiah Williams has bounced around a few practice squads and has yet to stick to a roster. He faces an uphill battle.
Jaymar Johnson, Tre Gay and Gino Crump appear to be camp bodies at this point. They will need a big showing to overcome the depth ahead of them.
Covering the Tight Ends
Does Heap still have gas left in the tank?
At 32 with 12 seasons under his belt, the former ASU Sun Devil hasn't played a complete season since 2009 with the Baltimore Ravens.
A healthy Heap brings something the Cardinals haven't ever really had: a proven TE on the roster. The Cardinals are facing the problems of whether Heap can stay healthy and whether he should add yet another weapon to the offense.
Can King improve our pass protection and our run offense?
Last year King surprised not only Cardinals fans but probably the entire football world at large with several early touchdown grabs.
King wasn't known for his pass-catching prowess when he was playing for the Panthers yet has shown he can catch the ball when called upon. His main skill set is blocking and with a season under his belt of Cardinals football he should help cover questionable tackles.
Can Housler be consistent?
Watching Housler run past the Saints DBs was a thing to behold. At 6'5", 250 lbs and running a 4.5 forty, Housler is a matchup nightmare.
However Housler has struggled with some drops and bad routes. He needs to put everything together. When he does he will open up the field to a QB who likes to stretch the field.
Can Dray show the staff that they need to keep four tight ends?
With depth battles across the secondary, the RBs and WRs, a fourth TE for the Cardinals seems very unlikely. Yet the Cardinals ran four deep last year and could again this year.
A strong performance in the preseason could make an already difficult decision even tougher.
Steve Skelton and Martell Webb, both young TEs, have a difficult job ahead. Not only does one of them need to out perform S. Skelton, they will need the coaches to decide to keep four TEs.
The Offensive Line Play
Will Brown finally establish himself as a legitimate LT in the league?
Brown has been the Cardinals' scapegoat for a long time and deservedly so. He has allowed more sacks than any other tackle since being drafted in 2007.
At the end of last season, however, he improved his play and was a force in the run game. Brown needs to continue his upward trend otherwise he could stunt the growth of the offense.
Is Bridges our starting RT?
Bridges has been a journeyman lineman in the NFL. He found a roster spot with the Cardinals because of his versatility. Because of the failed project with former Cardinal Brandon Keith, however, Bridges has been thrust into the starting role.
Most are looking for Bobby Massie to pass him up on the depth chart, but as of right now he is our starter. The Cardinal will need him to play at least average to support whichever QB emerges as the starter.
How big of a chip did sliding to the fourth round put on Bobby Massie's big shoulders?
While it doesn't look like Massie will be able to overtake Bridges on the depth chart anytime soon, he is definitely the RT of the future.
Massie has a lot of learn coming from college, but he has all the features you like in a tackle. Hopefully he can take the position from Bridges due to his ability.
After seven seasons he has only proved to be a depth player. Will he hold on another year?
Can Young beat our Potter for a roster spot?
Can Potter beat out Young for a roster spot?
The Interior Line
After a year in the system, can Colledge help Levi Brown and solidify the left side of the line?
When the Cardinals first signed Colledge, many thought it was an average signing. So far Colledge has proven to be our most consistent lineman outside of Lyle Sendlein.
The team needs Colledge to have another good season and to help make Levi Brown's job easier.
Can Snyder improve both the run and pass game for the Cardinals?
Many have thought Snyder to be a stopgap signing. The Cardinals needed improved play over Rex Hadnot and inked Synder to a five-year deal. Synder has had pass protection problems in the past but is a grater in the run game.
With the talent we have in the backfield he should improve our run offense, but will he be a liability in pass protection? If the Cardinals want to improve on offense, improved line play is the fastest way outside of improving the QB situation.
With both Snyder and Colledge both locked up for the long term, can Clemente improve to make either expendable?
Clemente is in a good spot. Theoretically, he will have time to improve behind Snyder and Colledge and should be able to step in once he has grown as an athlete.
With only two to three backup spots available for the offensive line, will any of these guys separate from the pack?
Sendlein has been a rock in the middle of the line. Will he finally get noticed by the NFL at large?
Most likely his name will only ever be mentioned when the Cardinals are doing well and the line has improved.
Sendlein deserves credit for his consistent play for the Cardinals
It will be hard to justify keeping two centers on the roster. Bartholomew can stick if he can show some versatility.