Broncos vs. Cardinals: Bubble Players Who Need to Step Up in Preseason Finale
The Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos will face off Aug. 30 in the very last preseason game of the year, and with each squad trimming their rosters to 53 players soon, this is the last shot for some to prove they deserve to be one of those 53.
Denver will be looking for players to help in its quest to win the AFC West division while the Cardinals are in search of those who can help the franchise turn around after an 8-8 season in 2011.
Here are three players that need to step up and make some highlights if they want to make the final cut for their team.
LB Keith Brooking, Denver Broncos
Unlike the other two players who will be discussed later, Keith Brooking is on the other side of 30 years old, attempting to make his third team over his 15 years in the NFL.
Brooking is 36 years old and was a free agent for much of the offseason. After getting the call from Denver, he injured his hamstring during training camp but he'll need to forget about those setbacks.
The best chance for him to make this squad is channel the skills that made him an NFC Champion and two-time All-Pro selection against Arizona.
The former Dallas Cowboy and Atlanta Falcon player realizes this, telling Sam Davis of DenverBroncos.com "I feel great now. It is what it is. There’s no sense in crying over spilt milk. You just pick up, keep moving forward...[I feel] extremely comfortable with the defense and my assignments."
Brooking could easily tee-off on this Cardinals offense, which will not be starting either John Skelton or Kevin Kolb at quarterback. Considering just how talented Brooking is even at this age, he should be able to shine in this preseason bout.
WR Stephen Williams, Arizona Cardinals
Williams made the Cardinals squad in 2010, but did not contribute in 2011 and is now nursing an Achilles injury according to the Arizona Republic (via Rotoworld). The Toledo alum can't use that as an excuse however, as he needs to take advantage of this final opportunity.
When discussing the final roster decisions, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt told Darren Urban of the team's official website "when you are talking about potential spots, there are a couple of spots where it has come down to two or three guys. It comes down to how they play in this game."
Williams has just nine receptions for 101 yards in his NFL career and the only way he can add to that total with Arizona is to catch all the passes thrown his way.
Even then, it will be difficult for him to make a roster featuring Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Early Ducet and rookie Michael Floyd.
DB Crezdon Butler, Arizona Cardinals
Butler finds himself in an interesting situation, as he's primarily a cornerback but will have to impress Whisenhunt's staff at the safety position.
Usual starting safety Adrian Wilson won't be featured in this preseason contest, which means this is Butler's best and final chance to show his diversity and usefulness in the secondary.
The roster hopeful likely isn't the only one who wants him to make the team, considering he spent most of the 2011 season on injured reserve for the Cardinals and thus unable to contribute to the team.
If he doesn't prove himself against Denver, then Arizona will likely be forced to cut a player that it took a chance on last year, signing Butler off waivers from Pittsburgh in 2011.
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