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Friday Five: Cardinals At Bucs


*A glance at five top storylines for Sunday's Cardinals-Buccaneers game in Tampa: *

  1. Taking on a rookie quarterback

The Bucs benched Josh Freeman in favor of Mike Glennon this week, a move not surprising in itself but a little curious with the Bucs' bye coming next weekend. The Cardinals have felt the sting of some rookie quarterbacks in recent games, but in the past, the Cards have always ended up with the win in the first go-round – against Sam Bradford in 2010, Cam Newton in 2011, Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill last year. They are counting on keeping that streak alive.

  1. Readjusting the outside linebackers

It isn't as if the Cardinals have no linebackers left that have played. Matt Shaughnessy and John Abraham have gotten their reps and the coaching staff insists they have confidence in the two. But the backups are completely untested – Dontay Moch and Vic So'oto – and DC Todd Bowles is going to have to find a way to tweak the defense so his personnel is still in the right spots to do the most damage. Going against a rookie is probably a nice place to start that experiment.

  1. Trying hard to find a consistent offense

Points can't be this hard to come by, although the Cardinals are saying the Tampa Bay defense is the hardest they have faced. Not a good combination after the Cards scored just seven points last week. It starts with protection up front – it always does – and a need to execute. The Cards probably need to lean on the run game a bit more, and Carson Palmer can't let opportunities pass through the air, even if he hears footsteps.  

  1. Getting Fitz – or someone else – loose near Revis Island

One of the underlying issues around the Buccaneers has been how they are using cornerback Darrelle Revis, zone secondary concepts and what that means. Tampa Bay has a good secondary. But Larry Fitzgerald is back to full strength and the Cards want (and need) to get their top three receivers involved and productive like they did in St. Louis to open the season.

  1. Finding the benefit of a week away

The whole reason the Cardinals stayed in Florida this week was to better prepare for the Buccaneers' game. The last time the Cards came here in the regular season, 2007, they flew out on Saturday afternoon and it was a dud of a performance in a game they clearly could have won. The kickoff time should not be a factor. The weather should not be a factor. That's the whole point.

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