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Settling In On Offense

Lineup finally set, unit preps for date with Seahawks


Tight end Todd Heap and the Cardinals' offense finally has a settled lineup.

The quarterback is chosen, the line for now is set, and the running backs are healthy.

The Cardinals' offense has been in flux since training camp began. But Monday, with the Cards getting their first practice of the regular season, the unit finally had a settled nature to it – maybe.

"Time will tell," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "We'll go out and play against Seattle, a really good defense last year, and we will know exactly where we are at that opening drive. We'll try to move the football and get things done, and if we're not (settled), it'll show."

There were still changes to get through. With the news versatile backup offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges is out for the season after tearing ligaments in his thumb against the Broncos in the preseason finale, the safety net dropped further away for new left tackle D'Anthony Batiste and rookie right tackle Bobby Massie.

Batiste and Massie were going to be the Week 1 starters, however, and now – alongside center Lyle Sendlein and guards Daryn Colledge and Adam Snyder – the line is as in place as it was before Levi Brown's season ending triceps injury.

"It's for real now," Batiste said, adding that for him, "it's a day-to-day process. Every day, you work your craft."

The team already had an idea about the line, however. Finalizing the quarterback and naming John Skelton as the starter was the linchpin of moving forward and the biggest part of the equation to the rest of the offensive players Monday.

"I'm just happy it's behind us and we don't have to answer the question every day anymore," Fitzgerald said.

Skelton said working with the starters exclusively can only help the offense. The preparation for Seattle started last week, he said, and "hopefully from here on out, we'll have the same 11 guys on the field every day."

Skelton appeared confident and happy to be carrying the title of starter, the first time he really has had the top of the depth chart. Last season, he was starting only because of the injuries to Kevin Kolb.

Kolb, speaking for the first time since the news he would be the backup, said "there's no time to sulk" and insisted he will be ready if needed.

In the meantime, Skelton will have running backs Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams and LaRod Stephens-Howling all ready to play out of the backfield, and shrugged off concerns about the offensive line.

"We're not really going to change anything," Skelton said. "We're going to do some stuff to help the younger guys outside, especially against a better pass rush.

"But I don't think it will change our game plan."

Whisenhunt wasn't analyzing the offense now that the starters were set – "It's too early to talk about noticing a difference," he said – and is only interested in getting a good week of practice in. That makes sense, because the unit needs time to jell together.

"We've got the pieces in place," Sendlein said. "At this point, we just want to fine-tune it each day."

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