2007 season recap
Warner rises in Phoenix. The Cardinals won five of its final eight games behind veteran Kurt Warner, but it wasn't enough for the team to break its playoff drought. Now the team is embroiled in a quarterback controversy.
Key camp questions
Will Boldin show up to camp happy?
Receiver Anquan Boldin is looking for a new contract, which could cast a shadow over the Cardinals training camp. Boldin is expected to have key roles for the team this season. Boldin will likely seek a contract similar to the huge contract signed by teammate Larry Fitzgerald. Boldin appeared in 12 games in 2007, with 71 receptions for 853 yards -- snapping a modest two year streak of having at least 1,000 receiving yards. Boldin has been vague about his plans for training camp, and any absence will surely cause a distraction. If Boldin does not show up, that gives a chance for guys such as Steve Breaston and rookie Early Doucet.
Will Antrel Rolle flourish at free safety?
The Cardinals selected Rolle with the eighth overall selection in 2005, but never quite lived up to his billing -- except for one game last season when he intercepted Carson Palmer three times. Whisenhunt announced that he was going to move Rolle to free safety this season, and that could be the making of a top secondary in Arizona. Rolle will be spending his training camp getting familiar with a new role. The Cardinals invested a first-round pick in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and have Pro Bowl strong safety Adrian Wilson. If Rolle can make the transition and Rodgers-Cromartie is as good as advertised, this could be the strength of the defense.
Will the offensive line continue to improve?
Offensive line coach Russ Grimm improved the offensive line last season, as the unit was long a sore spot for the organization. The unit is practically unchanged this season, allowing for another year of growth and improvement. The team spent last year's training camp getting familiar with a new system, so this training camp will be used to improve on the progress from last year. And that will be important for a running game with an aging back and two quarterbacks who suffered significant injuries last season.
Key position battle
QB Matt Leinart vs. Kurt Warner: The Cardinals have been looking for the future with Leinart. But Warner is possibly the best chance to win in the present. Warner threw for 3,417 yards, 27 touchdowns and had a passer rating just a tick below 90 when Leinart was injured. In fact, the duo also worked some games as a tandem with good results. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has given Leinart the nod for the starting job, but the young quarterback is going to have to contend with playing while knowing that a proven veteran is ready to take his spot.
RB Tim Hightower: The 225-pound rookie has been compared favorably to Marion Barber and could see some considerable time in short-yardage situations, especially near the goal line.
Player on the spot
RB Edgerrin James: James has never quite lived up to the lofty expectations that arrived with him from Indianapolis, and it's unlikely that he will rebound now that he's a 30-year old veteran. The Cardinals will likely try to reduce James' carries spreading the ball around to backups such as Marcel Shipp and Hightower.
QB Carousel: The rotating quarterback situation was a headache for fantasy football owners last season, until Warner grabbed the spot following Leinart's injury. Barring another injury, there might not be a clear-cut favorite for the entire season, especially if Whisenhunt opts to use a two-man quarterback rotation again. Fantasy owners would probably prefer Warner to win this job.