Before completely shutting it down for some (more) vacation and as the rookies are finally joining their veteran teammates in off time, here is my annual stab at what the starting lineup will look like once the Cardinals take the field Sept. 8 against the Lions.
As always, this is just my prediction. Some of the positions are still very much undecided. Many are simply obvious. Injuries are also always possible.
Tomorrow, I’ll post the defense.
QB – Kyler Murray. This is why you draft a quarterback first overall -- to play him. However it goes, it sure looks like it will be fun to watch.
RB – David Johnson. Everyone – including Johnson himself – is waiting for the 2016 Johnson to return to the field.
WR – Larry Fitzgerald. Sixteen years in, he’s still the standard.
WR – Christian Kirk. There is a quiet confidence to Kirk going into his second year. Part of that is having his rookie season behind him, part because he knows this Kliff Kingsbury offense. He seems primed to flourish.
WR – Andy Isabella. To be truthful, it’s possible this ends up – as a starter – with someone like Kevin White or Damiere Byrd. Isabella does fit a bit better in the slot (like Fitz and Kirk, to be honest.) But right now, Isabella is a safer bet to get snaps over White or Byrd, and he, like Kirk and Fitz, will be a major factor in the offense.
TE – Charles Clay. It’s hard to tell exactly what the tight end will produce or be asked to produce. But Clay seems the perfect fit to whatever Kingsbury might want.
LT – D.J. Humphries. He’s going into his contract year, and he’s had trouble staying healthy. This is a big season for Humphries, and he’s going to get his shot to show what he thinks he can be.
LG – Justin Pugh. Another player whose health is crucial after signing as the main free agent last season.
C – A.Q. Shipley. This could end up being Mason Cole, and there is a full training camp to sort out the position, but Shipley just seems determined to get his job back after his ACL tear.
RG – J.R. Sweezy. Sweezy is a guy who has been available much of his career. That’s what the Cards need – and his background blocking for a mobile QB doesn’t hurt.
RT – Marcus Gilbert. The Cards have been, let’s say unsettled at right tackle the last few years. Gilbert is going into the last year of his deal and is coming off an injury. But he’s been pretty solid when he plays. Again, the Cards have to hope for health.