There was little question during the offseason the Cardinals had stockpiled good depth with their offensive linemen. If you believe Brandon Keith can play in this league — and I believe that, as do the coaches — they have a good group. But maybe everyone, at least on the outside, was expecting too much too soon.
The reality is the only person in the same spot is center Lyle Sendlein. Reggie Wells flipped from left to right guard. Levi Brown flipped from right tackle to left tackle. Alan Faneca, at left guard (and pictured below), is new to the team (if not Russ Grimm’s tactics). And Keith hasn’t played for two years other than practice. Deuce Lutui, arguably the team’s best offensive lineman by the end of last season, let his weight land him in the doghouse.
There were going to be growing pains. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that yesterday, Brown has brought it up. There was an assumption — and I was one of the first to do it — that the summer together would allow the group to mesh well by now. But that, in addition to a lack of gameplanning at this point, has shown there is still a ways to go. I still wonder if Lutui doesn’t find his way past Wells on the depth chart by the beginning of the season, but regardless of whether it is Deuce or Reggie, the Cards’ unit may still negotiating the learning curve.
This is all so important in context of the offense. The line is crucial to everything, to running the ball to protecting the quarterback — whether it is Matt Leinart or Derek Anderson. Leinart hasn’t played well, but he was harassed Monday. I am sure the Cards want to run the ball better too. Again, none of this really matters now as long as the line works cohesively come Sept. 12 in St. Louis and forward. But it may take all of the final two-and-a-half weeks of preseason to get to that point.
Tags: Alan Faneca, Brandon Keith, Deuce Lutui, Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Reggie Wells, Russ Grimm, training camp
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