Injuries are a part of the NFL landscape that every team has to deal with.
I attended my first ever Cardinals practice on Monday working my KTAR gig. Of course, the day I make an appearance the Red Birds suffered what would have been a devastating injury to "Beanie" Wells.
The Cardinals avoided a catastrophe when Wells' injury ended up being minor, but it made me think who is the most indispensable player on the Cardinals roster?
On most NFL teams, you immediately go to the quarterback position. With the Cards, Derek Anderson is a drop off from Matt Leinart, but I don't think it is that significant.
The two best players on the Cardinals roster are Larry Fitzgerald and Darnell Dockett. The question isn't who are the most talented players on the roster, it is who would the Cards be hurt by losing the most.
Larry Fitzgerald is a top-three wide receiver in the NFL, but the Cardinals offense this year is going to be predicated on setting up the pass with the run. If you lose Fitz, Coach Whisenhunt still has two solid WRs to throw out on the field in Early Doucet and Steve Breaston.
As good as Darnell Dockett is, the defensive line is the deepest position on Arizona's roster. If Dockett went down, the Cardinals can plug in one of their many defensive tackles.
The two players that come to mind for me are Beanie Wells and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
It is not often that a running back is considered essential to a team, but with Matt Leinart at the QB position, the Cardinals are shifting from a "wing the ball over the field" offense to a "grind the game out" offense.
The key to making the transition is Wells. Tim Hightower is a good complimentary running back, but without Wells' speed, strength, and big-play ability, even more pressure falls on Matt Leinart.
We all saw how bad the Cardinals' secondary was last year in the two playoff games when DRC wasn't 100% or wasn't on the field.
If the Cards have to shift Greg Toler, Trumaine McBride, or Michael Adams to the #1 cornerback position, you can kiss the season goodbye.
Injuries always happen over the course of an NFL season; the Cards just need to hope "Beanie" Wells and DRC are able to avoid getting dinged up.
Which two players do you think are most important to the Cardinals this season?