Thursday night the Arizona Cardinals take on the Tennessee Titans at 5:00 p.m at LP Field. There are plenty of storylines to follow -- the offensive line, the quarterback battle, the play of the special teams. Here are the top five things to watch.
Will the Cardinals offensive line fall apart without left tackle Levi Brown?
Brown was most likely lost for the season with a torn triceps injury and D.J. Young and D'Anthony Batiste will get first crack at filling the position. Young has never taken a snap in a regular season game. Batiste will start at right tackle and at some point move over to left while the starters are still in the game.
Can John Skelton firmly establish himself as the starting quarterback?
The former Fordham product can end the QB controversy with a good performance against the Titans. He only threw three passes in the Cards last game against the Raiders. Skelton will at minimum play the entire first half tonight.
Another test for the Cards defense in Titans running back Chris Johnson. Against the Raiders Ray Horton's defense held Darren McFadden to nine carries for 34 yards and if you take away his 22 yard carry it was eight carries for 12 yards. Johnson looked like his old self in Tennessee's last game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running for two impressive 14 yard touchdowns.
Beanie is playing in his first game of the preseason, while it will be Ryan Williams second. The third preseason game ( I know this is the Cards fourth) is generally considered a test run for the regular season so it will be interesting to see how the carries are distributed in the first half. During the regular season I am intrigued to see if Coach Whisenhunt will ride the hot hand or try to keep carries evenly distributed.
For the first time in the preseason the Cardinals defense has to deal with a quarterback whose legs are a weapon.
Jake Locker is a threat to take off at any time. If you take a look at the regular season schedule Arizona could potentially face Russell Wilson twice, Michael Vick, Christian Ponder, Tim Tebow (for at least part of the game), Alex Smith twice and Aaron Rodgers. That's half the schedule against QB's who have the ability to break the pocket.
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