Arizona Cardinals 2010 Preseason Preview

Jack London@@Londonbridges21Correspondent IAugust 14, 2010

Arizona Cardinals 2010 Preseason Preview

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    Tonight begins a new season of Arizona Cardinals football. 

    Many of you won't be able to be there in University of Phoenix Stadium tonight but your hearts, minds, and thoughts might as well be. 

    This may be one of the more watched preseason games in Arizona Cardinals history. 

    With all the changes the Cards have undergone, many fans want to see how they'll react. 

    But the preseason is more than just one game, as we well know. 

    So what should we be looking for from the Cardinals in the preseason?

Week 1: Vs. Houston Texans

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    What to Expect:

    Don't expect too much. 

    Remember, this is the first preseason game. The reserves are going to get a lot of playing time, and Matt Leinart, Larry Fitzgerald, Beanie Wells and others won't. 

    But keep your eyes on a lot of important reserves that the Cardinals will need this season. 

    Matchup to Watch:

    Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie v. Andre Johnson.

    Even though it will only be for a series or two, it will be an intriguing matchup between the league's best receiver and an up-and-coming star. 

    And we'll see if DRC is 100% yet. 

    Players to Watch:

    LaRod Stephens-Howling: He'll get a lot of playing time tonight at RB. I'm personally interested in his big play ability and his speed, so hopefully that will be on display. 

    Cody Brown: Coaches say he's played well in training camp. 

    Daryl Washington: The rookie will get a lot of playing time. He's third on the depth chart, but I think with a great preseason, he could be number two. 

    Stephen Williams: The rookie from Toledo needs a great preseason to make the team. As I mentioned on Tuesday, he's had a great camp. 

    Trumaine McBride: So far, the veteran journeyman is the new starting corner opposite DRC. If he has a great preseason, he may hold off Greg Toler. 

Week 2: @ Tennessee Titans

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    What to Expect:

    The first team will get a couple of extra series in this game, so if the offense or defense plays poorly, then you can begin to worry. 

    Matchup to Watch:

    Chris Johnson v. Defense

    CJ2K is an exciting back to watch. The Cardinals did fairly well against him last season, although he did have one big rushing TD. 

    But the Cardinals defense has undergone a complete makeover. A good performance (which would be keeping Johnson in check) is needed. 

    Players to Watch:

    Beanie Wells: If he's back, let's see how he runs. Whisenhunt may play it safe though. 

    Early Doucet: Where and when the Cardinals use him will be interesting. Also watch for the connection between him and Leinart. 

    I expect big things from Doucet, but if a connection is lacking between him and Leinart, it might be better to curb my enthusiasm. 

    Dan Williams: The Cards number one pick this season hasn't proved much yet. He needs to step up when he gets playing time. A sack of VInce Young (or Kerry Collins), or generally being disruptive as the nose tackle, would speak volumes. 

    Monty Beisel: He's been with the Cardinals for a while now, and he may be very important this year with questions at inside linebacker. Now's his chance. 

    Rashad Johnson: The second year safety from 'Bama wasn't good last season, but his camp has been solid. Now he needs to take it to the field. 

     

Week 3: @ Chicago

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    What to Expect:

    This is the big game for Arizona fans. 

    Typically this is the game when the starters will play for about a half, give or take. 

    It's essentially a rehearsal for the regular season opener in St. Louis. 

    Matchup to Watch:

    Arizona Secondary v. Jay Cutler

    The Bears are sure to test out their improved aerial game versus the questionable secondary of the Cardinals. 

    Sure, Arizona has DRC and A-Dub (Adrian Wilson). 

    But Mike Martz knows that they'll have two new starters, and he'll want to find any weaknesses. 

    Players to Watch:

    Matt Leinart: Duh. All eyes will be on number seven to see how the new O looks. 

    Greg Toler: If he's overtaken McBride as a starter, this game will be a test for him. 

    Offensive Line: The last time they faced Julius Peppers, they didn't fare well. 

    Larry Fitzgerald: How does he mesh with Matt Leinart? Fantasy owners everywhere will be interested. 

    Joey Porter: A sack of Jay Cutler would be really nice. 

    Gerald Hayes: How he's recovered from surgery will be shown if he does play...

    Kerry Rhodes: How well will he mesh with Wilson?

Week 4: Vs. Washington

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    What to Expect:

    Last chance saloon.

    That's what this is. 

    The starters will play very little, so we'll see what the backups will look like, and a few players will make their last desperate attempts to make the team. 

    Matchup to Watch:

    Dan Williams, Cody Brown, Will Davis, Alan Branch, etc. v. Rex Grossman. 

    Just because I wanted to put Rex Grossman in this slide. 

    Grossman is mistake prone (that's an understatement), so the Cardinals need to fluster him. 

    Players to Watch:

    Onrea Jones, Ed Gant, Stephen Williams, Andre Roberts: The fourth receiver spot will more than likely be still up for grabs. These guys will get a huge chance on this night to make an impact. 

    Herman Johnson: He's been a project of Russ Grimm. Let's see how far he's come. 

    Brandon Keith: Speaking of Grimm, he's really worked with Keith. Watch Keith through the whole preseason. I'm hearing nothing but good about him. 

    The returners: It figures to be Stephens-Howling on kickoffs and Roberts on punts, but if someone takes one back other than these two, we could see a shakeup. 

One Final Word

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: this preseason is huge. 

    Although I'm a big fan of only having two preseason games (which the NFL is considering), this is one time I'm thankful for four. 

    The Cardinals have a lot of questions that need answering. 

    How will Matt Leinart perform?

    Who starts at inside linebacker? Cornerback?

    How will the rookies play?

    Who wins the fourth receiver job?

    And so on. 

    Enjoy the preseason folks!