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Whiz talks Levi

Posted by Darren Urban on March 25, 2011 – 9:36 am

The play of tackle Levi Brown has been an oft-discussed topic, and he obviously has his critics, especially in the fan base. But as I have written before, coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff are not unhappy with his play, and Whisenhunt reiterated that again at the recent owners’ meetings. Mike Sando has all the quotes and the breakdowns — Sando points out there are many first-rounders from that season Brown has probably outperformed — but there is the reality Levi will always be graded down because of how high he was selected (and because everyone knows by now the Cards considered taking Adrian Peterson with the selection).

“Any time an offensive lineman gets drafted that high, especially in a fantasy football world where people want you to get dynamic playmakers, you are going to face some kind of criticism,” Whisenhunt said. “I have to give Levi some credit. As tough as it’s been, he hasn’t let it affect him. He has continued to work and get better and I think this will be a big year for him. This is a chance for him to show that he can play this position very well.”

Will Brown ever get to a Pro Bowl level? Well, usually we’d know that by now. But for all the people — and I hear from many of them — who want to dump him period, that’s not going to happen. Nor do I think should it.

“The reason we drafted Levi where we did was because we had him rated high enough to go in that position, but we also felt like we had to develop our offensive line and defensive line at that point, because that is where the most critical component of your team,” Whisenhunt said. “That is the only way you are going to have a chance to compete. Levi has been a good player. He is often criticized, but I think that comes with being the fifth pick, and I don’t understand how you evaluate offensive linemen, because they are not catching passes or running touchdowns in.”


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48 Responses to “Whiz talks Levi”

  1. By Brandon on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    I’m not calling for him to be cut in any way..but with any pick in the top 5 I think you’d perfer the coaches to be more than “not unhappy” with his play. That quote alone tells you hes been a dissapointment as a #5 overall. Think about other olinemen taken high recently (joe thomas, jake long, clady, mack, pouncey) and I think levi is at the bottom of that list. Can’t change it now just hope he keeps improving..

  2. By Rich on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    good topic. Brown has been solid. he’s a good tackle. maybe hasn’t been great….but solid and progressed and durable. He was a pro bowl alternate and he can be again. Levi is the least of our problems.

  3. By Ben on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    “…and I don’t understand how you evaluate offensive linemen,…”

    And there is our problem straight from the coaches mouth. lol

  4. By D on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    but will they resign him when his deal is up? I think Brandon Keith is a project that may take a few more years to be good, this is why I think they use a pick in either round 2 or 3 this year on tackle

  5. By brad oneill on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    The good news about offensive linemen is if they get it they can be around for 14 years.

    the main problem i have with levi is the amount of times the quarterback has ended up on his back while levi is still standing up. I think he has been a step slow at times to the great peril of whoever is behind center.

    I still think he could develop into a great offensive lineman but i could see a third or fourth rounder beating him out of his starting job and if that is the case so be it.

    You don’t drop a good player just because you expected them to be great. but you dont keep a bad player just because you overpaid for him. So far he has fallen short of expectations but he is young now the question is will he begin to resent the criticism and fall out of the league or will he use it to push him to be the level of player he has the potential to be.

  6. By Skiptim on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Darren -

    Is there something that coaches see that fans don’t? I mean, there has to be a reason he was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2009, right?

  7. By Mark on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    So whiz admits with his last comment he cant evaluate offensive linemen because they dont catch passes or run touchdowns. How about how many sacks they give up or how much they push defensive linemen to make holes for runningbacks. Maybe thats the reason our offensive line stinks with pick-ups like washed up Alan Faneca or overwhelmed Brandon Keith as starters, while they dont sign their best linemen in Lutui., and he is given grief for his weight. There was a certain telling comment Kurt Warner gave while talking about the Patriots offensive line and how they gave Brady all day to throw and that he would still be playing if had played behind that line. Maybe he would have at least played out his contract if he wasnt getting pummeled out there and the cards offenisve line was at least decent.

  8. By Blair on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Whiz, its not that hard. When you see people running right past him more than any one else on the linen its pretty easy to judge. Saddest part of this whole article is that he may be the best on the cards line. What a year its going to be.

  9. By Darren Urban on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Skiptim –

    RE: “Seeing” Levi

    I don’t pretend to know the best way to evaluate a lineman. Somebody must be giving him votes for the Pro Bowl. I was surprised about that, to be honest. Again, I don’t think Levi has played at a high level, but I don’t think he has been terrible either. He is better suited to block for the run. He was in his first year on the left side. And it’s hard to tell, given how poorly the offense was last season, what should be put at the feet of the line/Levi and how much is on the quarterbacks.

  10. By Darren Urban on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Mark –

    RE: “Evaluating”

    I took the comment to mean “you” as in media/fans evaluating, not “you” as in coaches.

  11. By Bill L on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    and I don’t understand how you evaluate offensive linemen, because they are not catching passes or running touchdowns in.”

    YOU have to be kidding ME!!!!!!! If he didn’t mean WHIZ himself……how dumb does he think fans are……Pretty dumb eh Whiz? Dumb enough to go into a Season with a hopless retread cut from Clev and 2 Rookies……..that would be a good question for Whiz. If he meant HIMSELF…….God HELP US!!!!

  12. By Bill L on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Just thinking, IF BROWN is GOOD…….what does that make the OTHER 4? ‘Cuz if the Cards O-Line wasn’t one of the 3 or 4 WORST in the NFL, I’ll eat my hat……….There’s Another Good Question for Whiz.

  13. By georgiebird on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,
    It does Whiz no good to downgrade any of his players. When a player gets downgraded by an organization, he has already been traded.
    I can’t think of many Card offensive linemen drafted very high who later became pro-bowlers only Dierdorf and Luis Sharpe come to mind-many Card greats were drafted 5th round or later like Dobler, DeMarco, McMillan, Banks.
    However, the Cardinals CAN draft great wide receivers- don’t have enough room to mention them all. That’s why the Cardinals should draft AJ Green and go defense for the rest of the draft and get a FA QB (probably McNab).
    I know the needs are elsewhere but the Cardinals track record with LBs, QBs, DBs, DLs is downright putrid.

  14. By Andre on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    All I gotta say is Whiz and the FO better go after top offensive linemen once the CBA is in place. Then maybe he can redeem himself from many poor decisions he has made in the past. Washed up QB and 2 rookie backups come to mind. Being spoiled fans we are, the large amount of money the org saved last year, and the fact that we are in the worst division in the league, this might be a decision year for you Whiz. We better make the playoffs.

  15. By Eazy E on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    If you draft someone in the top 5, you want them to be elite at their position. Levi you want to be an elite LT and not just ok. Levi is better than a number of tackles though. He also got so much criticism because joe thomas got picked 2 picks earlier and it’s no comparison no offense right now.

  16. By John the draft guy on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    A good Qb makes an offensive line look good and a bad one makes the O-Line look bad. Also, how many times is it a TE or RB who missed the block and the O-Line is blamed?

    This offensive line was never as good as everyone claimed when Warner was there and it wasn’t as bad as when the Trio of QB’s played this year.

    I think we have a steady group who can get the job done given a QB who can read defenses and get the ball out of their hands. Levi is a solid player. Nothing more , nothing less.

  17. By DirtybirD on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren, maybe Levi is better suited to be a guard. Look at Leonard Davis, he made the Pro Bowl as a guard. Levi better step it up this season if wants another big contract.

  18. By Peter in Canada on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Mark- While the Patriot line is undoubtedly better than the Cards I don’t think Warner was exactly pumelled. I remember two viscious hits in 2010. One was against the Rams where he was concussed but you could hardly blame the line for that. He was sprinting to the sideline and had lots of time to throw the ball away but didn’t. The other was against the Saints but that was from a block after an interception. The most consistent pumelling I saw him take was in the Super Bowl against the Titans. I think it was the series of hits he took over his career that made him want to quit rather than perhaps compromise his quality of life in later years.

  19. By DoblerFan on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    I agree Darren that Levi is better on the right as the run block tackle. Problem is, please correct me if Im mistaken, Levi’s contract is over after this year. At this point in his development, I couldn’t see resigning him to a franchise LT contract. I’d like to see us draft that next true LT so we don’t have to reach for one in next year’s draft. Would love to steal FA LT Free from Dallas.
    History has shown us that Bulger will struggle if not protected.

  20. By Phoenixraven1 on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    I dont have issues with Levi, hes still growing so that’s good he hasn’t shown a ceiling yet and that’s a good thing…

  21. By Peter in Canada on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    John the draft guy- How right you are

  22. By drummer-1 on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    @Andre..theres that we better comment, you say we better make the playoffs.. If we dont whats going to happen?we’ll be watching the playoffs on t.v just like the other teams that didn’t make it, or do you plan on spankin Whiz or firing him..lol

  23. By Darren Urban on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    DoblerFan –

    RE: Levi contract

    Levi is under contract through 2012. He is scheduled to make $1.76M in salary this year and $2.33M next year, with a roster bonus of $3.675M both years.

  24. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    @Peter,

    Well said. Great QB’s make solid OL’s look better than they are, and bad QB’s make everything look awful. Look no further than our offense for concrete evidence of that.

    @Bill L,

    I’m guessing that’s what the Whiz means when he questions how fans evaluate the OL. Does the average fan really take note of which QB’s are able to manipulate the pocket to avoid sacks as opposed to running directly into one? Does he have a tendency to hold the ball too long? Have we been given a copy of the playbook to know which play should be called or even audibled to so the correct protection packages are in place? I’m sure the Whiz realizes most of us can see when a lineman gets beat on a given play but there’s no way for us to know all the dynamics that the play called for.

    Whether we like being called out on it or not, as a general rule we base our evaulations on the numbers we read.

  25. By brad oneill on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    i have to totally disagree with the notion that a good quarterback makes the offensive line better. A good quarterback can make things happen despite a poor offensive line. but no one was saying the Cardinals line was good when Kurt was back there. there were tons of times when he had just gotten the ball off and he was drilled. they may not be as evident in the stat lines as sacks but those hits add up.

    the line really was as bad as advertised early in the year. It got a little better at the end but during the pre season and the first part of the year it was porous.

  26. By Mr. Know It All on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Leonard Davis was moved to guard in Dallas.

    Darren do you think the Cards would try this with Levi Brown?

  27. By Mr. Know It All on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    DirtybirD

    your post was there first, somehow

  28. By Mr. Know It All on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    It will be a different starting lineup for the OL if the Cards want to protect a prize free agent QB. But what if they keep it the same at QB and OL maybe there could be improvement. Otherwise the Cards are starting over.

  29. By AndyStandsUp on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    If I remember correctly. right about this time last year, Whiz was singing the praises of Matt Leinart and Mike Gandy; both that were released in preseason. I would not be totally surprised if Levi was also cut, but his youth is probably his saving grace.
    Darren, I could have sworn that Brown was scheduled to make a shade over 5 mil this season and be a FA in 2012.

  30. By cardsalltheway on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,
    No matter how the quote is spun, it’s still not a very bright or nice one. The Cardinals coach ought not think “You” the fans are so dumb as to sit around watching, waiting, and counting how many catches offensive linemen get to “evaluate” them. If Ken W. really did mean that “You” was the fan/media then I feel a bit of hostility on his part toward the fans/media while the subject was simple. The fans and media aren’t THAT dumb!
    On another note, the quality of offensive tackles in this year’s draft isn’t high, so finding a replacement for Levi B. won’t be easy if Grimm put him at Guard as some have suggested. If PP7 and Von Miller are both gone then I say draft down and get an OG + another player.

  31. By cardsalltheway on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,
    “He is better suited to block for the run.” So how many times did we run on his side vs the other side? I’d venture to guess that it was the other(right) side, if so then this is even another example how Ken W. isn’t very good at utilizing players.

  32. By az1965 on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    Levi is solid??? LOL

    And the coach confirms by his comment he is clueless regarding OL. Levi is a Russ Grimm pick and was clearly a big reach. Another reason Grimm should have been fired by now.

  33. By Jeff Gollin on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    Bottom line was that the lead-footed Anderson frequently had to run for his life, Max Hall looked like he was throwing out of a deep man-hole and Skelton always seemed to be a half-second hurried in his throws.

    It comes down to pass pro (or lack thereof) and the LT is the linchpin of most teams’ pass protection. It doesn’t matter how high Levi was drafted. (Sendlein was a UDFA). The only thing that matters is: “Can he get the job done?” From my viewpoint, we’re hurting in pass protection, and he has to do better.

  34. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    @Brad,

    There are so many ways they make the OL better. An effective QB opens up the run game, puts people in the right schemes, puts the offense in advantageous second and third down situations, doesn’t run into sacks, manipulates the pocket, etc.

    Take all that away and even the best linemen can look pretty incompetent.

  35. By Bill L on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    Team …………..Player……….. ……Sacks …………Median Time
    Cardinals Brandon Keith 6 2.1
    Falcons Sam Baker 5 2.8
    Giants David Diehl 5 2.5
    49ers Anthony Davis 4 2.55
    Lions Stephen Peterman 4 2.65
    Panthers Geoff Schwartz 4 2.7
    Bears Frank Omiyale 3.5 3.4
    Chargers Brandyn Dombrowski 3.5 2.3
    Falcons Tyson Clabo 3.5 3
    Packers Chad Clifton 3.5 3
    Saints Jon Stinchcomb 3.5 2.4
    Bears Brandon Manumalena 3 3.2
    Cardinals Levi Brown 3 2.45

    These are the worst at allowing sacks as on MID October 2010. Notice the Cards TWO tackles and look at the times…..LT 2.5 sec for BOTH. The Bears O-Line was being criticized at this time were ALL over 3 sec with 3.2 being the worst. Horrible O-Line, and Brown is a BIG part of it. If both of your tackles stink your QBs have NO CHANCE. It amazes me that anyone, let alone the head coach, can even try to defend this mess!!

  36. By Darren Urban on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    Mr. Know –

    RE: Levi to guard

    I do not expect that to happen, no.

  37. By Darren Urban on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    AndyStands –

    RE: Gandy/Levi

    Levi’s contract is what it is, which is what I wrote. If you add roster bonus and salary though, that’s more than $5M.

    As for Gandy, he was a free agent last offseason and not re-signed.

  38. By Darren Urban on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    Cardsall –

    RE: Whiz

    I feel safe in saying you already had some hostility toward Whisenhunt long before that comment was said.

  39. By drummer-1 on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    @Cardsall…. If you don’t like the coach or the team way come to the cards site..Just a question..

  40. By Scott H on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    Ah, yes, the O-line….geez, we ‘re talking so much about the QB situation that I forget about the O-line. But one sure has a lot to do with the other. And I was so often distracted by how awful derek Anderson was last year that I sometimes didn’t notice how badly the O-line was also playing. Fact is, the play along the O-line must improve considerably if we want ANYONE ( regardless of who it is ) to play well at the QB position. I know a lot of people think Bulger is the guy we should get. But…my gosh, do people remember the horrible beating that he took during his last few years in St Louis and how badly his play declined during that same period??? If this O-line can’t protect him…why should we expect any better?

  41. By cardsalltheway on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,
    What I say doesn’t make the headlines and that’s not fair, I’m critical of Ken W., but not hostile nor criticle toward any GROUP(s) of people. The question is why would any coach be critical toward fan(s) — like we all think the same, LOL — It was a simple question asked by a reporter(Sando)”media” about a prior 1st round 5th pick and yes we have ANOTHER 1st round 5th pick this year. Since Ken W. specifically said “You” the fans, I say it’s hostility.

  42. By cardsalltheway on Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    I would’ve thought Ken W., could’ve coached Derek Anderson up on his public rant on ‘sideline laughing’ with D. Lutui last year but after Ken W.’s own recent public rebuke, I gotta wonder?

  43. By Darren Urban on Mar 27, 2011 | Reply

    Cardsall–

    RE: Criticism

    Wait, wait. So because you criticize a particular person and Whisenhunt, in this case, is talking about a group, you are OK and he is not? I am not following the logic. You have your opinions. He has his. You may be right about why he said what he said, but frankly — especially in this much more interactive age where everyone can use screen names to jab at players and coaches, etc. — I don’t see why he can’t have that opinion and state it.

    Just as a fan would say, “Well, just because he is the coach doesn’t mean he is always right and I should be able to point that out,” I believe a coach or player should be able to say “Just because they are a fan or customer doesn’t mean I have to think/say they are always right.”

  44. By Bill L on Mar 27, 2011 | Reply

    CardinalsGab on the Atlanta Game;

    “Aside from allowing a sack, Levi alone was responsible for an astonishing eight quarterback pressures, all of which came from Anderson’s blind side.”

    “Against Atlanta, Anderson dropped back 33 times and from the left side alone he was pressured 10 times and hit 3 times, including both sacks allowed by the Cardinals”

    It is a JOKE to defend this OL and Esp Levi…….the Line is a Joke, and a QB killer, and people want Bulger to do better than DA behind this mess…….Whiz is a Liar or a Joke if he thinks Brown is even decent by starting NFL standards. Of course I suspect both to be true…….did he talk about Levi’s snap and crispiness……that seems to be his limits. I think DA is no NFL starter, but the O-LINE was/is the MAJOR problemj……If the lne didn’t stink, DA would have had less bruises and criticism……..of course rookies and CFL players had no chance. Whiz BS……..yeah WHIZ, everybody is dumb but YOU……you of course are a Pittsburg GENIUS…NOT!!!!!….there, Now I feel better……ready for more Whiz BS!!!!

  45. By CrazyLady25 on Mar 27, 2011 | Reply

    First, let me start out by saying that Whiz and I have the same Alma Mater, so I not only respect him — but I know how Ga. Tech “trained” him to think. Or let me say it this way — I know tons of people who came out of that college thinking in a certain manner because of the way they were taught.

    I also want to mention despite my name and the fact that I am a woman — I was also an an athlete — turned down basketball scholarships to the Air Force Academy and UNCC — when it came time to make up my mind about college. But my first love has always been football. Can throw a tight spiral and apparently have better 3-5-7 step drops than cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert.

    Please understand, I’m not being cocky, I survived a stroke at 26 when I should have died (4% chance of survival). So, i’m just telling it the way I see it and nothing more.

    LEVI BROWN IS NOT NOW, NOR WILL HE EVER BE, A TACKLE, LET ALONE THE LT, IN THE NFL. HE WOULD MAKE A GREAT LG THOUGH!

    Anybody that believes the problems with our offense will be solved with a QB do not know what they are saying. When Dallas released their LT Flozell Adams, I was absolutely floored that we did not immediately sign him. He had 2-3 more years left. Then we could do whatever we needed, through FA and the draft, to sign a LT. One of the reasons Tampa did so well was they had a “surprise”, undrafted FA who came in and played LT like he owned the position.

    Ultimately, this will be either the downfall or the success of Coach Whiz. I disagree with Kurt Warner about Bulger coming here. We have a QB, Skelton, who has all the tools BUT is a different type of QB than Kurt was. Let the D carry us next year and by Skelton’s 3rd year we will be the team to beat in the NFC West and will contend for the Superbowl birth in the NFC Conference.

  46. By drummer-1 on Mar 28, 2011 | Reply

    @ Bill L… with all the Whiz sucks, he’s liar, Whiz BS., the team is a joke… I bet you’ll be the first one at the stadium when the season starts…. But if you think Whiz is that bad of a coach why bother following the team, why comment on them, it shouldn’t matter too you if you don’t like them..

  47. By brad oneill on Mar 28, 2011 | Reply

    bill- i believe in regards to levi whiz has been pretty consistent saying that he is happy with his progress. which is coach speak for im not going to cut him yet but he isn’t quite there.

    Coaches have more to worry about than telling the truth. they have to know how their words will affect their players. Whiz’s job is to get the most he can out of Levi not to berate him or point out publicly when he falls short. I am certain if he thought a public flogging would help levi he would do it. I am also certain that if a better option were available he would take it.

    There is apparently an upside to levi and Iif the coach is willing to give him a little more time to get it right just maybe he will get it together.

  48. By drummer-1 on Mar 28, 2011 | Reply

    @brad oneill…… thanks for saying what i was trying to say..

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