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Levi Prepares To Dance With Taylor

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Cardinals tackle Levi Brown (75), here battling Washington's Andre Carter last season, will face new Redskin Jason Taylor this weekend.

Levi Brown doesn't need to be reminded he will battle former Defensive Player of the Year Jason Taylor Sunday in Washington.

"You watch a little more film, watch their tendencies, things like that," Brown said. "Jason Taylor, having the résumé he does, you do focus on him a little more."

Taylor, after an offseason of performing on "Dancing With The Stars," came to the Redskins in a trade with Miami. He was limited in the preseason with a bad knee, and while he hasn't completely healed, he did have his first sack of the season against the Saints last week. Brown, meanwhile, is looking forward to his first start in Washington.

Brown wasn't going to play in Washington his rookie year, not after nursing a bad ankle sprain for a few games. But left tackle Mike Gandy got hurt in the game, and with Elton Brown already playing right tackle, Levi Brown played a chunk of the second half in Gandy's place.

He couldn't hold off defensive end Andre Carter on one Arizona drive in the Washington red zone, and Carter blind-sided Warner, causing a lost fumble.

The Cards, who don't have a turnover through two games, would like to avoid a repeat.

"It'll be a tough matchup for Levi, especially with the noise," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "But Levi has been playing a lot better for us this year. One thing he has to do is use his technique because when he does use his technique he does a good job."

Whisenhunt said the Cardinals will mix up the plays in which Brown will get blocking help, but there will be times in which he and Taylor will go one-on-one.

"Anytime you play in a game like this, you work a little harder, make sure you are ready to go," Brown acknowledged.

HIGHTOWER'S ROLE

Before the season, Whisenhunt said rookie running back Tim Hightower's role in the offense was yet to be determined. Two games into the season, it has become evident the Cardinals like Hightower in the short-yardage and goal-line situations.

Four times the Cards have run the ball from the opponent's 5-yard line or closer, which Hightower getting each carry. Five times the Cardinals have given the ball to a running back on third- or fourth-down and two yards or less to gain. All five times, Hightower got the carry.

Hightower, who has scored touchdowns in each of his first two games, said he isn't ready to feel comfortable he is the short-yardage guy yet. But he has enjoyed his role.

"I am getting an opportunity to play," Hightower said. "I don't care if it is first down, third down, goal line, playing is better than sitting on the sidelines. Especially when it is in crucial situations where the team is counting on you."

Hightower's one issue is fumbling. He had a couple in the preseason and fumbled again inside the Miami 5, although the Cardinals recovered. Hightower insisted fumbling has never been an issue with him previously.

"I can't let it happen," Hightower said. "But I don't think I have gotten to the point where I am thinking about it. It hasn't been a problem for me my whole career and I don't want to be thinking about it so it is a problem."

LABOY HELD OUT

Defensive end/linebacker Travis LaBoy (ankle), who was limited in practice Wednesday, sat out of Thursday's practice. His status for Sunday may revolve around how much he can do in Friday's practice. The rest of the Cardinals' injuries remained the same, with defensive tackle Gabe Watson (knee) still working in the whole practice with a hope he can play soon. Tackle Levi Brown (knee) and receiver Steve Breaston (hamstring) remain limited.


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 9/18/08.

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