As training camp concludes for the Arizona Cardinals have had two pre-season victories that meant nothing in the standings but mean everything in terms of the 53-man roster. After two weeks there are positions that may have gotten a little clearer, such as cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. Looks like Jamar Taylor has solidified that spot and Bene Benwikere close behind him. These two guys continue to shine in camp and more importantly in live game action. Brandon Williams played deep into the first pre-season game and didn’t see much from him in the second game, he is currently on the bubble have had ample opportunity to emerge but continues to struggle to pick up zone coverage.
Injuries to the Linebacker position has delayed that process but as the regular season approaches guys will be ready to be plugged in the starting line-up. Particularly Deone Bucannon and Josh Bynes who are nursing minor injuries and the team just wants them fresh.
The second team offensive line has been an issue and needs some tweaking. Mainly at the center position, as Evan Boehm has been getting reps on the second team replacing the problem snapping Daniel Munyer. Truthfully the hope is that the starting front line can stay healthy because they have looked very dominant like in the run game and getting better in pass protection.
For the critics and media outside the Arizona circle that continue to believe that we have a Quarterback controversy here in the valley, please lay that to rest as that is far from the case. Sam Bradford is clearly the starting Quarterback for the Cardinals until his health says otherwise. Bradford throughout camp and pre-season has total command of the offense and has been sharp as a tac. The young rookie Josh Rosen is making big strides to be ready in case the injury-prone Bradford goes down as everyone expects.
The only quarterback challenge going on is at the number three spot. Mike Glennon has not gotten many reps the last four camp practices, as undrafted rookie Charles Kanoff has taken third-team reps in both practices and in games. The writing may be on the wall for the veteran Glennon, the only thing that may save him is the fact he is a veteran and going into a season with two rookie QB’s behind your starter may not be wise. But if the veteran flat-out gets outplayed then all that should matter in my opinion is the best guy in that position.
Finally, the position that still has a very unclear picture is the wide receiver spot. Six guys with the exception of course of one future Hall of Famer are still in close contention. Rookie Christian Kirk flashed in the last pre-season game grabbing a great touchdown in traffic showing great hands and getting separation. Kirk has an assured position being a high draft pick but if he plays like he did on Friday night then he will for sure be at least number three on the depth chart.
The bubble wide receivers J.J Nelson, Carlton Agudosi, Rashad Ross, Jalen Tolliver, Trent Sherfield have all not done much to make a case. Although Tolliver made a great catch in last week’s game and Sherfield has had a good training camp, either guy hasn’t had many opportunities on the field in live action to stand out.
Right now, if I had to choose which one is currently leading, I’d have to go with Trent Sherfield having received the most praise of the bubble bunch from the coaches.
The five guys under Larry Fitzgerald all need to step up their game to claim the number two spot, but no one has emerged as a sure thing yet. Currently, Greg Little and Bryce Butler are close but need more game time opportunities. It’s possible that the team currently only has one clear number one WR and a bunch of legit number three’s. Perhaps if this group can’t emerge then the team may look to an upgrade that would command the number two spot like a Dez Bryant. Not likely, but we need that type of guy opposite the great one to be able to keep David Johnson a dual threat. If defenses know we don’t have another wideout that demands attention, then they can key in on Johnson as a receiver and we lose the element of surprise.
The 53 will eventually be assembled and with General Manager Steve Keim returning soon, I’m sure he will have a few more roster tricks up his sleeve.