General Manager Steve Keim was on Arizona Sports 620 this morning recapping the game yesterday. Among the things he was asked about, not surprisingly, was the play/situation of left tackle Levi Brown.
“I take it personal because it wasn’t good enough,” Keim said. “It starts with me. It comes down to making sure (offensive coordinator/line coach) Harold Goodwin and (assistant line coach) Larry Zierlein continue to work with him. Technically, there were a lot of issues, whether it was use of hands, playing straight-legged, not moving his feet and I think if you talk to Levi, he’d be the first to tell you it wasn’t good enough.
“That’s an area we obviously need to improve. But I take it personal. I’ve got to do a better job. It starts with me and like I said, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. But there are only so many options. We will continue to look at those moving forward.”
Keim, a former college offensive lineman, said he was generally pleased with the rest of the offensive line play.
Keim was admittedly down because of the loss and said he was “disappointed and frustrated.” He was happy with the play of Carson Palmer — “It was nice to see a real NFL quarterback out there spinning the rock,” he said — and the receiving corps, and thinks the running game was getting better as the game went on. He praised Bruce Arians for his playcalling. On defense, Keim said he was hoping for better tackling and more of a pass rush, although he noted the Rams used a lot of three-step drops and got big gains because of missed tackles. He saw blown coverages too, especially on tight end Jared Cook.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Levi Brown, Steve Keim
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It was toward the wrong end zone, and it was the Cardinals’ defense instead of its offense, but it was difficult not to look at Tyrann Mathieu racing down the middle of the Edward Jones turf Sunday behind a breakaway Ram and not think of Steve Breaston.
In 2010, Breaston, the wide receiver, had a wasn’t-gonna-give-up play after a Cardinal turnover, and a sure Rams TD was undercut when Breaston knocked the ball loose and into the end zone, where the Cardinals recovered. This time, it was Mathieu, flying up behind Rams tight end Jared Cook and improbably popping it loose – into the end zone, where linebacker Karlos Dansby jumped on it.
Honey Badger – remember, he’s good with it again – said he was just always going to try and make a game-changing play, and that could have been it. Perhaps should have been. The Cards save seven points there and when they took the 11-point lead into the fourth quarter, you were thinking that should have been enough.
That wasn’t the only déjà vu I had Sunday though. Watching running back Andre Ellington run that key third-down wheel route – and see him get wide open beyond the linebacker – reminded me so much of the one LaRod Stephens-Howling ran in Philadelphia in 2011 on a key third down during the Cardinals’ game-winning drive that game. Ellington was in position to do the same – except the pass never really had a chance.
(By the way, Stephens-Howling tore his ACL Sunday playing for the Steelers and is out for the season. Brutal.)
The Cards won the Breaston game. The Cards won that Hyphen game. They couldn’t win Sunday.
– We’ve had this discussion before, about Levi Brown. I’m guessing this won’t be the last time. He didn’t play well enough against the Rams. Got a holding call and was beaten three times by Robert Quinn for sacks. And then, after the game, Bruce Arians first said – before he even got a question – that he wasn’t worried about his offensive line. Then, asked about Brown specifically, said Brown was his guy and made the point there was no one better to replace him with.
I know everyone says it should be Nate Potter, but Arians gave Potter a lot of opportunity in the preseason and Potter did not seize the moment (in fact, struggled at times like Brown did, mostly against guys deeper on the depth chart.) The way Arians talked Sunday, he feels strongly there is no one on the roster for which to bench Brown. Steve Keim is always looking for upgrades, but I’m not sure you’re going to find a left tackle on the street. The Cards would have loved for one of those tackles to fall to seven in the draft, but it didn’t happen. They took Jon Cooper, and yes, I am sure left tackle will be a point of emphasis next offseason.
– Carson Palmer looked like he had plenty left to me.
– Andre Roberts had the stuffing beaten out of him, and he held the ball every time. It may have been Roberts’ best game as a pro.
– The Cardinals missed Daryl Washington. It’s obvious to say a team misses a Pro Bowl player, but he would have been able to make an impact. Maybe been a better matchup for Rams tight end Jared Cook.
– Speaking of linebackers, Arians said John Abraham was fine. He didn’t play a ton though.
– With 26 seconds left and the ball on their own 20 in the first half, it would have been easy for Bruce Arians to sit on the ball. But the man who says “No risk it, no biscuit” risked it, and Carson Palmer, after a completion, hit three straight long passes to set up a 50-yard field goal. Unfortunately, Jay Feely pushed it a bit wide right, painful in a three-point loss.
“We couldn’t have executed it any better,” Arians said. “You have to make that kick and that was the deciding factor in the ball game.”
– Javier Arenas didn’t play defense, but the veteran cornerback was in there to return kickoffs. It didn’t go well. One time he fielded the ball deep in the end zone and was stuffed short of the 10-yard line. Another time, a return from deep ended up being fumbled, although the Cards fell on it.
“You have to make better decisions,” Arians said. “Stay in there.”
– We’ll see how the Cards adjust this week. And we’ll see if the Cards make any roster moves too.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Andre Roberts, Carson Palmer, Daryl Washington, Jared Cook, Javie Arenas, John Abraham, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Levi Brown, Nate Potter, Rams, Steve Breaston, Tyrann Mathieu
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With the injury of Jonathan Cooper, the Cardinals have gone with with the Daryn Colledge-Paul Fanika guard combination. There has been a lot of speculation on the outside that the Cards, at some point, could end up trying one of their tackles inside. Maybe Bobby Massie. Maybe Nate Potter. Maybe, even, Levi Brown.
None have been a consideration. Bruce Arians was asked specifically about Brown being considered inside. “Not until I find someone to take his place at left tackle,” was Arians’ reply.
The reality is that Brown is going to be the left tackle. It doesn’t look like Nate Potter has made any in-roads in displacing Brown (in fact, Potter seems to has struggled.). Arians, meanwhile, wasn’t showing any panic about Brown even after San Diego’s Dwight Freeney got to him — and therefore, the quarterback — some Saturday night.
“Overall, pass protection has not been a problem, until the other night,” Arians said. “We didn’t game-plan Dwight Freeney as much as we would have and Dwight beat Levi. It comes down to a one-on-one game. If we feel that way going into a game (that the tackle might get beat), we’ll help the guy.”
One of the things Arians liked the most of his Colledge-Fanaika decision was it was only moving one player — Colledge, to left guard. And Colledge has experience there. Brown hasn’t ever played guard and hasn’t practiced there. Neither have Massie and Potter for that matter (Arians gave a quick “nope” when asked if one of those guys could be moved inside.) Arians had said this offseason that the time for that experimentation was during OTAs. We’re well past that now.
Clearly, Brown’s work at left tackle will remain under the spotlight. It’s hard not to notice. Could the Cards find someone to, as Arians said, take his place? Even with all the tackles that likely will make this roster (Brown, Massie, Potter, Eric Winston) I’m sure the Cards will continue to look at the spot.
Tags: Bobby Massie, Daryn Colledge, Eric Winston, Levi Brown, Nate Potter, Paul Fanaika
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Ugly doesn’t even begin to describe what happened to the Cardinals Saturday night. If the Cards could have only left it at the stadium. If only a bad night for special teams or dropped passes or anything like that was the worst that happened.
But the long list of injuries the Cards had been avoiding – they only had five guys not able to play coming into the game, for goodness sake, and frankly, only Jeff King was among those guys who have a shot at the roster – came back hard. The most devastating is Jonathan Cooper’s broken leg. Here’s the guy who was drafted to jump start an offensive line resurgence. And now he could be out for the season.
There are lots of ways to look at this and we won’t know exactly what can happen with Cooper yet. There are options to put him on short-term, bring-’em-back IR if the prognosis goes the right way. But that doesn’t make it any easier to replace him. Do we get more Chilo? Do we get a Paul Fanaika-Daryn Colledge guard combo? Bruce Arians isn’t sure yet. There will be much brainstorming tomorrow, I am sure. But it hurts.
“To see a guy like that go down, a young guy trying to go out there and prove himself, that’s always hard,” Colledge said. “Especially with an offensive line that lost a lot of guys last year. We’re used to this, but it’s always hard to see a friend and a teammate go down. I know it hurts him. I know he’s probably emotionally distraught right now.”
– It can’t be easy for Cooper. It might not be easy for the Cards. MRIs are coming for all the other injuries, but the offense alone saw Cooper, Rob Housler (ankle), Andre Roberts (quad) and Rashard Mendenhall (ankle) leave the game. Scary.
– As for the game, not good. The Rashad Johnson lateral was bad. Funny, Arians actually praised the lateral linebacker Jasper Brinkley made to Patrick Peterson earlier in the game following an interception, saying it was a legitimate choice. Johnson’s lateral? “Absolutely asinine.”
Johnson knows that. He was upset after a pass interference call on teammate Jerraud Powers a couple of plays before and let his emotions ride the moment. “I just felt like we needed to make a play, which we did, instead of thinking of the situation we were in and playing smart football,” Johnson said. “Coach is always talking about ‘Cardinals beating Cardinals.’ That was a big Cardinals-beating-Cardinals play.”
– Powers was hit with three pass interference flags. He said he felt a couple of them shouldn’t have been thrown, but took responsibility for not adjusting to the way the officials were calling the game.
– Ryan Williams said he was “fine” after a pair of carries (for 10 yards) and a catch in his first preseason action of the season. I thought he looked aggressive for what little time he got. He needed to be. With Alfonso Smith coming out and looking good as Mendenhall’s backup, this running back battle is very interesting. Could the Cards keep five?
– Not a good night for the tight ends. Housler dropped a touchdown (Arians didn’t seemed all that concerned about it), while Kory Sperry and D.C. Jefferson also had drops. Jefferson’s miss ended up an interception.
– Not a ton learned in the kicking battle, since neither got much opportunity. Dan Carpenter had a field goal blocked on what looked like protection issues. Jay Feely made an extra point. Feely had both kickoffs.
– Arians wasn’t overly critical of Levi Brown’s play against Dwight Freeney because, well, it was Dwight Freeney. Nate Potter had his own issues, so it’s not like there is someone there that would step in.
– Michael Floyd made a nice catch in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Larry Fitzgerald’s one-handed catch to start the game was amazing. Other than that, a night to forget.
Tags: Alfonso Smith, Chargers, Chilo Rachal, D.C. Jefferson, Dan Carpenter, Daryn Colledge, Dwight Freeney, Jay Feely, Jerraud Powers, Jonathan Cooper, Kory Sperry, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Michael Floyd, Nate Potter, Paul Fanaika, Rashad Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams
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The Cardinals got Rashard Mendenhall on the field for the first time Saturday and got a little taste of what their starting running back would look like. It turned out OK. Mendenhall gained 32 yards on seven carries, and for a guy who has a reputation for getting better as his carries move along, that 4.6-yard average was encouraging.
A look at Mendenhall’s seven carries (and a couple of other plays in which Mendenhall was meaningful):
1st and 10, AZ 20 – With three tight ends in the game for the first offensive play of the day, left guard Jonathan Cooper pulls right and tight end Jim Dray also pulls from the same side. There is no real running room as Mendenhall gets to the right tackle area, and Mendenhall loses a yard.
1st and 10, DAL 22 – Two wide receivers, two tight ends. The Cards come off the ball straight ahead. Tight end Rob Housler manages a decent block to pinch a Dallas defender into the line as Mendenhall goes behind the block and hit apparent daylight – except linebacker Sean Lee, diving, gets enough of Mendenhall’s foot and leg to trip him up so he gains just five yards.
1st and 15, AZ 6 – One tight end and three wide receivers. After a holding penalty, With Mendenhall the lone guy deep in the backfield (actually in the end zone), he gets a delayed handoff. He’s nearly tackled at the goal line by charging Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Ware but Mendenhall escapes. Unfortunately, it slows him down enough that the Cowboys collapse, and Cooper is unable to hold off defensive end George Selvie as Selvie tackles Mendenhall after a one-yard gain.
1st and 10, AZ 26 – Two tight ends, although Housler is playing fullback. He and wide receiver Michael Floyd are the key blocks as Mendenhall heads over the Cooper/Levi Brown area on the left side for seven yards.
1st and 10, DAL 26 – Two tight ends lined up on the left. Floyd comes in motion from the left wide to come in tight on the left end of the line. Mendenhall grinds out three yards up the middle with the Cowboys not really giving any room.
2nd and 7 DAL 23 – Three wide receivers. Cards block hat-on-hat. Housler at tight end does OK on his block on the right side. WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts do a nice job on the right side too, and Mendenhall goes over right tackle for six yards.
3rd and 1 DAL 17 – On a short play, rookie running back Stepfan Taylor lines up as a fullback in the offset I with Mendenhall. Taylor gets the handoff as the up back for a two-yard gain.
4th and 2, DAL 7 – The Cardinals call a perfect play-action pass on fourth down. Mendenhall slips into the flat wide-open for what should be an easy first down. Quarterback Carson Palmer is pressured, but the underthrown ball at Mendenhall’s feet is a disappointing end to the play. Incomplete.
1st and 10, AZ 4 – Three wideouts and a tight end. Mendehall is four yards deep in the end zone. Cooper pulls again (see a trend?) and seals linebacker Brandon Magee to create a hole near right tackle. Fitzgerald has a nice second-level block on the defensive back. Mendenhall breaks a tackle and has good power on the finish, driving for a first down.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Cowboys, Jim Dray, Jonathan Cooper, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Michael Floyd, Rashard Mendenhall, Rob Housler
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Bruce Arians continues to say the Cardinals are having close battles on the offensive line for starting jobs, including left tackle. Levi Brown played well in the opener but Arians did say he wants to see more consistency out of Brown in practice. Meanwhile, Nate Potter remains behind Brown on the depth chart, trying to see if he can find a way into the starting lineup — where he was down the stretch last season when Brown was hurt.
One of the issues with Potter has always been his weight and strength. Since the day he showed up as a seventh-round draft pick the Cardinals that’s been the goal. He’s put on 10 or 15 pounds since he got to the NFL — his target is to play around 315 — even though it’s not always easy.
“I’m one of those guys who has to keep eating to keep the weight on, because it’s easy for me to lose it,” he said.
That’s certainly something many wish were a problem for them, and Potter smiled at the notion. “Everybody is jealous when I tell them that,” Potter said. “I tell them, ‘You do it for 10 years, it’s not that great.”
At one point this offseason, there was talk of trying Potter at guard as well and expand his versatility, That didn’t materialize, and when camp started Arians made it clear he wanted Potter-Brown and Eric Winston-Bobby Massie at right tackle to stay put and battle for jobs.
Right now, Potter, 6-foot-6, said he’s around 300 pounds. Brown, for comparison, is 6-6 and 324.
Tags: Levi Brown, Nate Potter
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The Cardinals are back at practice this morning at the team’s Tempe facility for the first time since playing Friday night. A few notes and thoughts from coach Bruce Arians in his first media session since the game.
– The running back situation isn’t cleared up right now, starting with the fact running back Ryan Williams (knee), who insisted last week he’d be back for the Cowboys game, might not be back yet. “I don’t know if he’ll play this week,” Arians said. Andre Ellington is still being handled with kid gloves with his neck issue (he is sitting today) and Arians said Rashard Mendenhall is still trying to get the stiffness out of his knee.
– Safety/special teamer Jonathon Amaya suffered a slight MCL sprain in the game. Arians said he’d be out a couple of days,
– Arians liked the job of the offensive line and specifically praised LT Levi Brown for his work on Clay Matthews, although he noted Brown will have to deal with DeMarcus Ware this week. All four tackles played pretty well.
– G Daryn Colledge (leg) is close to coming back, but it’s clear Arians is looking at Paul Fanaika at right guard too. “We’re solidifying (the line) without (Colledge) pretty good right now,” Arians said. “Paul played really well. Hoppefully Daryn can get back out there. There’s competition now.”
– The Cards will practice half outside and half in their new bubble today. Long-term, it’s a big deal to have the bubble, Arians said. “We’ll be able to stay on a normal practice schedule,” he said. “It will show dividends I think throughout September. We’ll have normal teaching routine as opposed to having to bus over to ASU or morning practices or things that are different.”
Tags: Andre Ellington, Bruce Arians, Clay Matthews, Daryn Colledge, DeMarcus Ware, Jonathon Amaya, Levi Brown, Paul Fanaika, practice bubble, Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams
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The Cardinals did a good job hooking up on big-chunk passes Friday night in Green Bay. That was in no small part of the pass protection. From Bruce Arians’ scheme to Steve Keim’s personnel additions to the coaching of the line from Harold Goodwin and Larry Zerlein, the Cardinals’ line did a very nice job.
To that end, I re-watched the first portion of the Cardinals’ offensive line play. As Arians noted, it seemed like the quarterbacks stayed pretty clean. After a look back on the plays in which the starting offensive linemen played – which took the Cards through both touchdowns they scored – proved Arians (and most of us watching) right. Here are the plays and how they went. The starters were, from left tackle to right tackle, Levi Brown, Jonathan Cooper, Lyle Sendlein, Paul Fanaika and Eric Winston.
1st and 10, AZ 20 – Carson Palmer fades to pass, the Packers rush five. The pocket is perfect. LT Brown has no trouble dealing with Packers star Clay Matthews. Palmer hits Michael Floyd with an 18-yard throw.
3rd and 6, AZ 42 – After two runs, Palmer is the shotgun. The Packers rush four. Again, no pressure. Again, Brown deals easily with Matthews. Palmer launches a bomb to Andre Roberts. Despite no pressure, the ball is slightly underthrown and that allows the defender to catch up to Roberts. Roberts still had a chance to catch the ball.
1st and 10, AZ 1 – Brown had been called for a false start, but the Cards were so close to their own goal line after their defensive stand the penalty was officially for zero yards. Arians calls for a play-action pass. Left guard Cooper pulls to the backside, somewhat risky given the spot on the field. After the fake, the Packers end up rushing only three with two other defenders backing out quickly to guard against the short stuff. Amazingly, it is wide receiver Michael Floyd, asked to stay in for protection, who locks up with Matthews. Even better, Floyd handles Matthews to a draw. Again, Palmer has plenty of time and space. He drills a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald for a 17-yard gain.
2nd and 9, AZ 19 – After another run, the Cards run a middle screen to Fitz in the slot. The Cards allow some pressure on the four-man rush as center Sendlein and right guard Fanaika jump out immediately to try and get some second-level blocks. The Cards get a modest four yards on the play.
3rd and 5, AZ 23 – Another four man rush. Matthews tries to stunt by looping from the far right side all the way inside. The Cardinals do a good job watching him as he is passed off responsibility-wise from Brown to Cooper to Sendlein. Brown does a nice job catching defensive end B.J. Raji on the hard push after Matthews leaves his sight. Palmer throws another long pass to Floyd. It’s incomplete and it doesn’t matter anyway. Floyd is called for offensive pass interference.
1st and 10, GB 38 – Following a Patrick Peterson interception, Arians goes for the jugular. Packers rush four and bring a fifth blitzer on a delay. Tight end Rob Housler, staying in to block, is prepared for the blitzer. Brown, Cooper and Sendlein all handle their men one-on-one. There’s a late chip on Matthews by the running back to help Brown, but it didn’t matter at that point. Matthews wasn’t going to get there, and Palmer was already delivering a 38-yard touchdown pass to Roberts on his final play of the game.
2nd and 8, 50 – The Cardinals had gotten the ball back on a John Abraham strip-sack. A run on first down got two yards. With backup quarterback Drew Stanton in the game, Arians calls for a play-action pass. Cooper and Fanaika remain in the game with new center Mike Gibson, left tackle Nate Potter and right tackle Bobby Massie. Packers rush four. Cooper pulls to right to take the edge rusher, and he has trouble getting over to make much of a difference. Gibson also fails to pick up his inside rusher heading into the gap Cooper vacated at left guard. Still, Stanton steps up in the pocket slightly right had has plenty of time to fire to wide-open tight end D.C. Jefferson. Jefferson ends up dropping the pass when he is hit on a play that should have picked up another 15 yards or so.
3rd and 8, 50 – Stanton in shotgun. The Packers rush five – three up front, and bring two linebackers after a brief delay. Potter and Massie easily handle their responsibilities, and Stanton has the perfect pocket. He completes a long pass to wide receiver Charles Hawkins for a 36-yard gain.
2nd and 7, GB 11 – After a run, the Packers rush four. Massie is in trouble from the start and ends up falling down on the rush by defensive end Mike Daniels. But Fanaika manages to jump back to help get a chip on Daniels, giving Stanton enough time to step up and complete an 8-yard pass to Hawkins.
2nd and G, GB 1 – After a two-yard run, Stanton runs play-action with both teams featuring goal line packages. Pressure isn’t a variable as Stanton lofts a pass to an open Jefferson in the end zone. Not a great pass, but Jefferson also needs to find a way to make such plays.
3rd and G, GB 1 – Again, with the Packers committing to the line and surging forward with eight, Stanton takes a quick drop and renders the rush moot with a quick back-shoulder lob to receiver Jaron Brown, covered one-on-one in the end zone. Brown makes the one-yard TD catch.
Again, the run blocking will need to be improved and will also likely be aided when starter Rashard Mendenhall is on the field. But the pass protection certainly gave the Cardinals and Palmer something to be encouraged about as the season begins.
Tags: Bobby Massie, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Clay Matthews, Drew Stanton, Eric Winston, Jonathan Cooper, Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Mike Gibson, Nate Potter, offensive line, Paul Fanaika, Rob Housler
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This is about that time when players are tired of hitting each other on their own team and yearn for a chance to hit someone else. The Cards get that Friday night in Green Bay. Although I suppose that’s all relative. Carson Palmer was asked if he had been hit less in this camp –and if he would have liked to be banged around a bit more in prep to a game.
Palmer was blunt.
“No,” he said. “I don’t like to get hit in the preseason.”
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been tackled in training camp,” Palmer added. “There is plenty of that that goes on during the season. You don’t need to prepare yourself for that. You prepare yourself in the weight room and your conditioning and your fitness level. I’ve been doing it long enough that I don’t need to be reminded what it feels like to get hit.”
Can’t blame him for that. And with that, some stuff to chew on before the Packers:
– The starters are going to get 15 plays or so. We will get a little taste of what this offense is going to be about. But are we really going to see the full extent of Palmer’s progress? Probably not.
– Curious to see how Bruce Arians works in the offensive linemen, especially the tackles. Do first-stringers Eric Winston and Levi Brown go the 15 plays and come out? Do backups Nate Potter and Bobby Massie get any snaps with Palmer behind center? Certainly, the play of all four will be among the most scrutinized. I know that’s one spot where I will be watching.
– The lights get bright for those receivers too. It’s always interesting to me the play of the younger receivers in the preseason because there is no position that can pop more when watching practice in shorts but that changes more in a game. Think about it: A receiver doesn’t really get hit at all all offseason or in camp. There is no fear in the middle. Now, in a game, you can get drilled pretty good. That can fuzzy up the concentration.
– Seeing the versatility of the defense in action will also be something to watch. How does Matt Shaughnessy do in his new role of sometimes-linebacker? Rookie inside linebacker Kevin Minter? How much does Daryl Washington play? Against the Packers’ first offense, I want to see how the cornerbacks do.
– It’s tough not to get a feeling that Tyrann Mathieu figures into a big play at some point.
– Not sure they’ll break out any of the Patrick Peterson offensive package. I think I’d keep that sidelined for now but we’ll see.
– The rookie hazing went down Wednesday night, some nasty haircuts just in time for the trip. I saw some of the rookies walking around the hotel this morning (ouch). Alex Okafor came out ahead quite frankly (see him here). Mathieu is here.
– This story about Fitz growing up and maturing – including the anecdote where he was fined by the NFL for not talking to the media (oh, I remember those days) – by Jim Trotter is good. Fitz has come a long way. A long way.
– Mostly, it’s just good there are games on tap. A game a week, a regular rhythm, something to analyze besides practice. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks of camp though. Why, you say you want to look back? Here’s a mashup to prep you for the Packers.
Tags: Alex Okafor, Bobby Massie, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Daryl Washington, Eric Winston, Kevin Minter, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Matt Shaughnessy, Nate Potter, Packers, Patrick Peterson, rookies, Tyrann Mathieu
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Bruce Arians said he was still a long way from choosing his starting offensive line. At the same time, he said he did know “who the eight are. Or nine,” ostensibly the guys who will be on the roster for the offensive line. In other words, the pool he’ll have to choose from when it comes to those starters.
The question is, to which eight — or nine — is Arians referring?
The list mostly seems straightforward. Barring any roster moves, you figure Jonathan Cooper, Eric Winston, Lyle Sendlein, Daryn Colledge, Levi Brown, Nate Potter and Bobby Massie will all be around. That’s already seven. But at the same time, that’s four guys who basically only play tackle — Brown, Massie, Potter, Winston — and that may be too many for guys who couldn’t move inside if necessary. Someone may need to show some versatility. Or maybe they all don’t make it.
I think Earl Watford, as a fourth-round pick, makes this team, but he may be this year’s Senio Kelemete — he may have a hard time being active on Sundays.
Let’s say, for a moment, Arians is planning on keeping around all those tackles, maybe working some at guard. Let’s say he leans toward keeping nine offensive linemen. With Watford, that’s eight already. Who else? Vet guard Chilo Rachal? Guard Paul Fanaika, who has come on and has been working with the first unit with Colledge out with injury? Do you consider Mike Gibson, who can be a guard and center, the backup center or is Cooper — who played a little center in college — your default backup at the position should something happen to Sendlein?
Or perhaps the Cardinals will end up picking up someone off the waiver wire after final cuts. That, with this front office, does not seem far-fetched at all.
Regardless, it sounds like Arians and his staff, a week into camp, have already narrowed down their potential linemen quite a bit. It’s not a surprise. What it does do it reiterate, once again, how many roster decisions are made long before we get to the end of the preseason.
Tags: Bobby Massie, Chilo Rachal, Daryn Colledge, Earl Watford, Eric Winston, Jonathan Cooper, Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Mike Gibson, Nate Potter, offensive line, Paul Fanaika
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