NFC West: Johnnie Lee Higgns

 
 AP Photo/Paul Connors
 If the unit can stay healthy, the Cardinals defense could sneak up on some teams this season.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Arizona Cardinals rookie Tim Hightower took the handoff from Kurt Warner and sliced through the Oakland Raiders' defense for a 13-yard touchdown run Saturday night.

The untrained eye saw a terrific play for the Arizona offense, further evidence that Hightower can lighten the load for workhorse running back Edgerrin James.

The Cardinals saw another reminder that their defense might be the best-kept secret in the NFC West this season. The Arizona offense had struggled to execute screens and draws all summer, never more than during practice sessions against a starting defense loaded with versatile veterans. To see a draw play produce a touchdown against another team affirmed early impressions about a defense that could be on the rise.

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