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Super Bowl rematch? Not exactly

You can't call this Tampa II.
/ Source: PhillyBurbs.com

You can't call this Tampa II.Six months after meeting in the Super Bowl, the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers begin the preseason the way they ended last season by playing each other.Just don't refer to it as a rematch of the Super Bowl in Tampa, not when Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes, Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner will be on the bench Thursday night for at least three quarters and maybe longer."Most of the guys that played a lot in that game probably won't play much at all in this game," Warner said. "That's more for league hype than it is anything else. It doesn't really matter until the real season kicks off."No, exhibition games are for trying out the rookies, testing new offensive and defensive alignments and sorting out the roster, not for renewing any grudges.As Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend said, the Super Bowl was played an eon ago by NFL standards, given the constant player turnover."It's just another game," Townsend said of one of only several NFL preseason games in which one team will fly nearly cross-country to play another. "The Super Bowl is gone and we won it, so we really don't care about the rematch."Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn't bother to get out the Super Bowl tapes for review, saying what happened on Feb. 1 has no effect on shaping a team for the new season."The big thing is to come out and play with tempo and speed," he said. "You run some core stuff you know they're familiar with. ... We'll put some base football in all three phases, something guys are capable of executing because that's what we want to see them do. We want to see them execute at a high level."The other games Thursday night are New England at Philadelphia, with Tom Brady expected to quarterback the Patriots for the first time since the 2008 opener in which he injured his knee; Washington at Baltimore; and Dallas at Oakland.Tomlin and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt plan to play their starters only a couple series, which means backups will be all over the field by the end of the first quarter. Both teams have full rosters, and coaches normally try to play nearly everyone who's healthy."That's a different team that won the Super Bowl and we're a different team. I think there's going to be a lot of excitement from being there and playing in that stadium, but other than 'Revenge of the Super Bowl,' I don't think so," Whisenhunt said. "Now if we could go back to the Super Bowl and play them again, I would say, yeah, that's definitely the case."The Steelers are relatively thin along the offensive line due to injuries to center Justin Hartwig (toe) and right guard Darnell Stapleton (knee surgery), the backup center. Former rookie free agent Doug Legursky is expected to start, and former Cardinals center Alan Stepanovich may play despite signing only this week.Cardinals first-round pick Beanie Wells, the former Ohio State running back, isn't expected to play after missing more than a week of camp with a sprained right ankle.For Whisenhunt and several of his assistants, including former Steelers assistant head coach Russ Grimm, and players such as cornerback Bryant McFadden and linebacker Clark Haggans, this is their first visit to Heinz Field since leaving the Steelers. McFadden played in the Super Bowl for Pittsburgh before signing with Arizona."I was there so long, I used to say, `I wonder how it would be in the visitors' locker room,' " said Haggans, who played for Pittsburgh from 2000-07. "So I guess I'm going to get my taste this time around. ... It becomes monotonous hitting on your teammates all the time. You just want to go crack some heads on the other team."Even if it doesn't count.Eagles at PatriotsBrady barely played last season. Coming off a record-setting MVP performance in 2007, he didn't make it out of the first quarter of the Patriots' opener against Kansas City.But New England plans to get him some work in the first exhibition game. And the three-time Super Bowl winner can't wait."Yeah, I'm ready, I think everybody's ready," Brady said. "We've had a good camp; guys have been working real hard trying to do what coach (Bill) Belichick's asked. It will be nice to go out and play the Eagles. They really gave it to us last year."Philadelphia has been plagued by injuries early in training camp. Indeed, it might not have its regular offensive line intact until the regular season now that left guard Todd Herremans could miss the rest of the preseason with a foot injury. Right tackle Shawn Andrews has been sidelined with a back injury and right guard Stacy Andrews will sit out Thursday night for precautionary reasons after having offseason knee surgery.Redskins at RavensNearly local rivals, these teams don't have a lot of history against each other. They won't be looking at what the other is doing, either, with plenty of questions of their own to answer.Washington has issues at wide receiver, with veteran Santana Moss and youngsters Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas bothered by hamstring woes. That can't help quarterback Jason Campbell's attempts to take charge of the job after the Redskins pursued Jay Cutler and showed interest in Mark Sanchez in the draft.Baltimore has a three-headed running back project, featuring Willis McGahee, Le'Ron McClain and Ray Rice.Cowboys at RaidersWith Terrell Owens gone, the spotlight is on Roy Williams as Tony Romo's main target. They'll get together for a few plays at Oakland."We just want to be productive," Williams said. "We might not score, but we might drive it down and kick a field goal. That's productive. It's not about me and Tony, it's about this offense, moving the football down the field."The Raiders want to see some consistency on offense, too. Tight end Zach Miller believes it will come if the unproven group of wide receivers responds."If we have wideouts that they're scared of or they have to pay attention to, that only opens me up more," Miller said. "We'll get our throws and we'll get our thing going, but I'd like to see the ball spread around as much as possible."____AP Sports Writer Andrew Bagnato in Flagstaff, Ariz., contributed to this report.