The Cardinals finished 2008 with a 9-7 record. Although the team sputtered towards the end of the season, Arizona put in a good enough effort in the playoffs to reach their first Superbowl. Two of the bigger names not returning for the 2009 campaign come from the Cardinals’ backfield as Edgerrin James was cut and J.J. Arrington left via free agency. The team re-signed quarterback Kurt Warner to a two-year deal, a major resigning for the organization.
In the draft Arizona addressed their biggest concern on offense from last season, running back. The team drafted Chris “Beannie” Wells from Ohio State with the 31st pick. They then looked to bolster their defense by grabbing a defensive end and a defensive back in the second and third rounds.
What to watch for in training camp
The Cardinals should be guided by Kurt Warner again this season unless he suffers any sort of injury, with former first rounder Matt Leinart to once again be carrying a clipboard.
Tim Hightower returns as the only running back with experience. He led the team with 10 rushing touchdowns as their primary goal line threat, but averaged just 2.8 yards a carry. That’s where the team will turn to rookie Chris Wells. Expect Wells to get the carries between the 20′s, with Hightower getting more inside the 10-yard line. Keep an eye on this training camp battle to see how things actually shake out.
The receiving corps in Arizona is fairly well defined. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are both elite receivers and will get the majority of looks from Kurt Warner. It appears Boldin is staying put for the 2009 season after some off-season rumblings. That’s bad news for Steve Breaston. The former Michigan Wolverine had an amazing sophomore season catching 77 balls for 1,006 yards. He still has value as a bye week replacement, especially if something happens to one of the top two guys, but there may not be enough balls to go around to keep him relevant on a weekly basis.
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