GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01: Quarterbacks Kevin Kolb #4 and John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals talk during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 23-20 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Arizona Cardinals look to sure up some position battles as they host the Oakland Raiders tonight at University of Phoenix Stadium. The quarterback position is the key battle tonight as Kevin Kolb and John Skelton look to emerge as the team's starting quarterback. Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams should both see action tonight and an interesting battle at cornerback is emerging.
The redbirds are hoping to improve from last week's 27-17 loss in Kansas City and the starters will likely see extended playing time tonight, as head coach Ken Whisenhunt said earlier in the week that the starters will see playing time until the unit shows improvement.
Position battles will be key tonight as this is the most we could see the starters play all preseason. Here is a rundown of how the key position battles could unfold tonight.
This may be Kolb's last chance to show Arizona fans that he can lead this football team. After two below-average preseason games, reports came out earlier this week that John Skelton was the favorite to start week one against Seattle.
If this doesn't light a fire under Kolb I don't know what will. Expect Kolb to come out and try to show his leadership early in the huddle, but I also wouldn't be surprised if Kolb tries to force some throws early and throws an interception.
Whisenhunt says Skelton will see first team reps to so I expect Skelton to come in and lead the offense down on a scoring drive his first possession, probably a field goal. Skelton has shown the ability to lead the offense down the field using short, smart passes.
As a fan all you want is to see either quarterback lead the first team offense on a touchdown drive, something neither quarterback has been able to do thus far.
Runningback: Beanie Wells vs. Ryan Willams
Both runningbacks are nursing injuries so both could be limited tonight as they make their preseason debuts against Oakland. Look for both guys to start slow and I don't expect either man to have a great game.
However, both guys will have one or two plays that will "wow" you. Whether it's Beanie running over a defender or Williams juking a Raider out of his shoes.
Expectations are high for Arizona's 2012 first round draft pick MIchael Floyd. The former Notre Dame standout has had a quiet first two preseason games, only catching one ball for three yards against Kansas City. Look for Floyd to see a few first team reps against Oakland.
Roberts is solidly set as the No. 2 wide receiver and look for him to get quite a few targets tonight. Opponents focus on Larry Fitzgerald and it leaves openings for Roberts to make big plays.
Gay has started the first two preseason games and looks to have the inside track to the starting position. Toler is still recovering from an ACL injury sustained last season and doesn't look to be 100% quite yet, look for him to be limited tonight.
The X-factor is Jefferson, who started the first seven games in 2011 before being benched and playing a reserve roll the rest of the season. Jefferson will get significant playing time tonight and will play well. Expect the Cardinals to get at least one interception tonight off the turnover machine Carson Palmer.