BradfordThe Cardinals should be excited, too.
Lining up against a rookie quarterback making his first regular-season start has its advantages.
Other smart, young quarterbacks have failed to notice Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson creeping toward the line of scrimmage before blitzing (Trent Edwards, a Stanford graduate, comes to mind). The Seattle Seahawks' Matt Hasselbeck knows what it's like to take an unnecessary elbow from Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett.
Arizona has some hard-nosed, skilled players on its defense. They've spent the offseason hearing about their expected demise following Kurt Warner's retirement. More recent turmoil at quarterback will only lower expectations, allowing Arizona to play with a chip on its shoulder even against a Rams team coming off a 1-15 season.
Bradford doesn't look like any rookie, however. He seems to possess poise, awareness, smarts and an accurate arm. He'll have Steven Jackson on his side, a good thing any day, but especially against a Cardinals defense with some question marks at inside linebacker.
I'm heading to St. Louis for this Week 1 matchup, a departure from my original plan to watch the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field. Bradford's emergence as the starter and the overall uncertainty surrounding Arizona makes this a compelling matchup.
"I don’t think that anybody in this situation, coming in as a rookie quarterback, is ready for everything," Spagnuolo told reporters Saturday. "I’m sure that these defensive coordinators will fire things at him that we haven’t seen yet. I totally anticipate that. He anticipates it. But you just prep him with the basics. He’s got a good team around, this will still be about the team. The guys have been doing a good job all the way through. When we talk about Sam leading the team in these preseason games, there were 10 other guys out there who really did a nice job, too."