The pieces of the offensive line

Posted by Darren Urban on February 5, 2013 – 10:31 am

The day Steve Keim was named general manager, the one-time offensive lineman spoke about his offensive line — the much-maligned line in 2012, for a variety of reasons.

“I think we have some pieces in place,” Keim said. “The level of physicality, the ability to run the ball consistently, that is a huge issue and that needs to be fixed.”

Last week before the Super Bowl, new head coach Bruce Arians said the offensive line situations is “not as dire as some might make it out to be.”

So what does that all mean? Certainly, injuries took their toll on the unit last season. Reading between the lines — and that’s all it is right now — it seems to me there is a good chance Levi Brown will be part of the unit in some way, shape or form. I don’t know if that means at guard or tackle. It would seem to be Bobby Massie has a chance to be a tackle going forward after he finished well in his rookie year after a difficult start. Where does Nate Potter fit in? And how do the current interior starters — guards Daryn Colledge and Adam Snyder, with center Lyle Sendlein — fit?

It’s still early. First, the new staff, which will have multiple coaches that will teach the offensive line, need to go through the video and analyze what players are already in place. Free agency gives the Cards some options, especially at tackle, although the cap implications of a big-dollar signing will have to be carefully considered. (Among the tackles currently slated for free agency — knowing a couple could get the franchise tag — include Denver’s Ryan Clady, Kansas City’s Branden Albert, New Orleans’ Jerrod Bushrod and the Giants’ Will Beatty.)

As for the guys already on the roster, the 2013 salary cap numbers for the four vets are as follows: Brown $7.65M, Colledge $7.3M, Snyder $4M, Sendlein $3.1M. (And before you ask, the “dead” money if those players were released would be $5.6M, $4.5M, $4M and $2.1M, respectively.) The draft seems like a more likely spot to add a piece, but whether that would be a tackle (like Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher) or guard (like Alabama’s Chance Warmack) or even after the first round, well, it’s way to early to have a good sense of that. The Cards have to have their meetings and again, the coaches need to evaluate what they have.

There has been a lot of talk about the quarterback and what the Cards will do about it, and that’s clearly the top topic. But what happens with the offensive line — and how that unit is addressed by Keim and Arians — will play into the quarterback story as well.


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31 Responses to “The pieces of the offensive line”

  1. By donttakelosses on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    D: any news on final staff?

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    Donttake —

    RE: Staff

    I expect to hear something soon. Probably today.

  3. By joe hancock on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    I dont think the line will be in that bad of shape considering Levi Brown will be coming back this season. With Potter and Massie I feel they have some ability to play on this level. The biggest question will be the qb.

  4. By jeffgollin on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    To settle an argument about Levi’s skill as a run blocker, I went back 13 years to Year 2000 and reviewed the Cardinals’ annual run yardage for each year as well as opposing ground yardage to serve as a basis for comparison.

    Eeeyiew!!! We only averaged more than 100 yards per game 3 times during that period and, not only were outgained by our opponents in every one of those 13 years, we only came close one time (2007) when we were within 150 annual ground yards of our opponents).

    I never realized it was that bad. (How did we ever get to a Super Bowl)? BA and Steve K have their work cut out.

  5. By LadyBird04 on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    The line played much better as the season went on. That is in comparison to what it was doing while Kolb was getting the snot beat out of him every week. To be honest, I don’t think Kolb is a bad qb…he’s not Warner, Brady or any other elite qb but he managed the games he was in and didn’t throw interceptions all over the place.
    I would want to see if they restructure his contract and see what he can do in a system designed for his strengths before we throw him away. Yes, we still need another qb but I personally wouldn’t write Kolb off until we see more about the line and the system Arians wants to install.

  6. By Boondock on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    Am I the only one that thinks we are in worse shape at guard than we are at tackle? Potter and Massie played well down the stretch as rookies, which gives me some hope. Colledge is overpaid and gets beaten way too often, same goes for Snyder. Any upgrades at guard out there in FA? I would rather take Fisher at 7 than Warmack. Fisher/BPA at 7 then either QB or Guard in the second and 3rd…then we pray that BA still has some of the COY left in him.

  7. By shannon robinson on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    The offensive line has eiught players under contract, so our challenge is scheme and coaching – we can probably add a veteran free agent or a draft choice. Sad for me to admit but my Hogs coach Russ Grimm could never put together an offensive line that could ever dominate a game! Once against the Rams, but that’s kinda it.

  8. By Mike T on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    I never liked the Snyder pickup and hated how much money we gave him. No it appears that we are stuck with him for at least one more year. Yuck!

  9. By joe holst on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    Draft a swing guy in the 2nd round, then an interior guy in the later rounds.. no big deal.. Quartbacks have to get rid of the ball quicker and running backs need to man up! Baltimore won with a makeshift line, Bryant Mckinnie wasn’t even on there roster til middle of the year.

  10. By D on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    Depends on the blocking scheme. Levi, Colledge Massie and Potter will for sure be on the roster. I think a E. Fisher would be a upgrade over Levi at Left tackle (and cheaper for a few years. ) Then I see Levi an upgrade over Massie at Right. (Levi makes too much to be a backup and too much to be cut). I see Potter more of a G than Tackle. I see Colledge’s salary and think he will be on the roster. So, if they go DE at 7, then I see Sendlien or Synder being replaced by a second or third rounder . If Fisher is drafted, I see maybe Synder being replaced only by Potter…Barret Jones from ALA can play both Center and G but not sure he will be there at 38 in the second round……many questions still open on the Line.

  11. By SCOTT on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply


  12. By Brett n Co. on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    Then get the hell off!! Bandwagoneer, you know the denver donkeys are looking for people like you.

  13. By Dave on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    I saw an article the other day that said the Cardinals are the best drafting team in the NFL in the last decade. The only problem has been offensive line and QB, two pretty big problems.

    We have some OK pieces in Brown and Massie, but we need a real overhaul across the board. According to profootballfocus that evaluates every nfl player every play, Adam Snyder is ranked 4th to last out of 81 starting guards in the league in blocking for 2012. In 2011 he was ranked 3rd to last out of 78 starting guards. Maybe Steve Keim should check out their website. Why they said he was their number one choice last year to go after in free agency is beyond me. Also, what happened to Kelemete – even though the line was decimated last year he was a no show. Was he a bust? Also, I wonder if part of the issue with Russ Grimm and the O-line was that he was assistant head coach and didn’t have time to spend with the O-line. I read an article that said the O-line was often seen standing around doing nothing because no one was there to coach them. I sure hope that changes this time around.

  14. By Brian R. on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    fix the offensive line. win the trench battle at all costs, on both defense and offense side of the ball.

    fix the offensive line and give kevin kolb time to throw the ball. and maybe relieve some pressure off the wide outs and establish a running game. ken whisenhunt was never able to get a running game together.

  15. By Scott H on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    jeffgollin –

    RE – How did we ever get to a Super Bowl?

    His name was Kurt Warner – a QB that was so quick to release, read defenses so well, was so accurate, and SOOOOO deadly at beating the blitz that he forced defenses to back off and play honest. Seriously. His numbers against the blitz during 2008 were simply amazing. When teams came after him, he made them pay. So, defenses had to respect that. And THAT probably made what was an average O-line at best look better than it really was. Great QB’s can do that.

    That said, I can only hope this new regime will take a more aggressive approach to trying to up-grade via free agency – especially along the O-line. Too many times in recent years, we were going into training camp – and then the season – with collections of O-lineman that were combinations of players who were average AT BEST, question marks, rookies, or Alan Faneca. What it always added up to was an O-line that ranged anywhere from below average to just plain bad. Seriously – when was the last time we had RECOGNIZABLE talent or, God forbid, a pro-bowler on this offensive line??? The philosophy in regard to personnel in this area obviously needs to be different if different results are to be expected. We can only hope. Perhaps the mere fact that we’ve moved on from Russ Grimm will also be a change for the better.

    And I ain’t spending one single ounce of optimism here. I’ll believe it when I see it. Granted, we have a few rookies from last year who may be much better prepared this year, thanks to the baptism by fire they got last year. Again, we can only hope. But that alone CANNOT be everything we need to be significantly better along the O-line in 2013. Neither can the mere return of Levi Brown. So…if we don’t come out of FA OR the draft with SOME clear up-grade SOMEWHERE on this line, why get your hopes up?

  16. By iammattyoung on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    IMO, Massie and Sendlein are the only guys who should be guaranteed jobs next season. I agree with Boondock in that the guards were horrendous. Yes, Colledge graded out the best of the five lineman, but from the eye test it seemed that Snyder and Colledge both spent more time on the ground than they did actually run-blocking. Unfortunately, it looks like you save only $3.4 mil by cutting those guys. Front-office has their work cut out for them.

  17. By warnerHOF on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    I’m tired of hearing about kolb. kolb is not even close to being a good qb. he has no arm strength, he locks onto 1 receiver instead of looking the field over. the game is too fast for him. all he does is dump the ball off. alot of the sacks were his fault. when he had a pocket instead of stepping up into the pocket he just stood there or ran. there were many many times receivers were open down the field but he didnt see them and also like i said he doesnt have the arm strength to throw even a 20 yard out let alone any kind of deep throw

  18. By ored on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    now that the tackles have been in the battle,they seemed to have responded well,off season strength training,training camp,maybe improved scheme,some competition at lft.guard,i think we’re ok on o line,just need some time to gel. a db across from pp and we’re pretty good there,de/olb and a run stuffer in the middle,top it off with a qb with an nfl arm and we are competing again.taking it on faith that our ground game improves along with the o line.we have the personel to have an elite passing game if we get it to click.when evaluating talent just get your mind right and be bold,you all been around the game long enough to know a baller when you see him.

  19. By Josh on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, what do you mean by dead money?
    my thoughts are we need new guards and a center. I know the cardinals will not be able to fix everything in one year but definitely the guards need to be fix. This could be addressed in the draft(1st round) and bring Levi brown to the guard position. I doubt they will bring in a big free agent to help the O-line, but I do hope the new coaching staff will actually coach up our players.

  20. By Darren Urban on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    Josh –

    RE: dead money

    Under NFL salary cap rules, certain bonus money – like a signing bonus – is prorated over the life of the contract for salary cap purposes. Let’s say a player signed a 5-year deal with salaries of $3 million a year with a $10M signing bonus. Each year that player would have a cap number of $5M ($3M plus $2M signing bonus pro-rated.)

    Let’s say the team cuts him with two years left on his deal. They save $6M in salary. But – while the signing bonus was paid up front in real money – there would still be $4M of dead money (The remaining pro-rated signing bonus) left on that team’s cap for the following season.

  21. By Credit Card on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    I agree totally with Boondock. Our guards were awful. Please remember Card fans, there was (as we discovered) a real solid reason why Colledge and Snyder were second stringers and released by their teams without being persued by their current employer. I still say move Brown to interior guard (too slow to be tackle), Sendlien is above average, Massey has shown promise, and at least Potter was able to get to the point of attack. The Cards are married to Colledge and Snyder as decent back-ups for next year. what to do at right guard is a looming puzzle piece.

  22. By Eazy E on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    Darren you missed the biggest fish(pun intended) on the market in Jake Long. We better replace at least via free agency and draft 2-3 guys(LT, LG, RG,RT) I like Lyle. QB first then O-Line.

  23. By Bob BoiseII on Feb 6, 2013 | Reply

    Haven’t heard any word about Pat McQ ankle surgery. How’s he doing? I assume he is still on the official roster.

  24. By Matthew on Feb 6, 2013 | Reply

    I hope we get alex smith or michael vick if they release him, but get the offense figured out before the next qb gets hurt too.

  25. By 949Cardsfan on Feb 6, 2013 | Reply

    The Oline can be easily fixed. At the 7th pick we are all but garunteed a plug and play Olineman. It will either be Warmack or Fisher. Either guy, coupled with the return of Levi, will certainly upgrade the Oline from worst in the league to at least avg. To me best case scenario would be:
    LT- Eric Fischer
    LG- Levi Brown
    C- Lyle Sendlien
    RG- ?? (Barrett Jones)
    RT- Bobbie Massie

  26. By Chuck 1 on Feb 6, 2013 | Reply

    warnerHOF on Feb 5, 2013 | Reply

    I’m tired of hearing about kolb. kolb is not even close to being a good qb. he has no arm strength, he locks onto 1 receiver instead of looking the field over. the game is too fast for him. all he does is dump the ball off. alot (sic) of the sacks were his fault.

    My comment: LMFAO!!!
    Did you even watch the first Rams game??? The OLine couldn’t pick up stunts and blitzes and Kolb sometimes didn’t have three seconds to LOOK for a receiver let alone FIND one? I think that most reasonable fans would not agree that “a lot of the sacks were his fault.”
    I think that BA and Moore will be able to coach up Kolb and if the OLine is improved, he will be effective.

  27. By Sackman on Feb 6, 2013 | Reply

    I agree with warnerHOF, our OL looked alot better once Kolb wasn’t playing. If we waist more time on Kolb our 2013 season will be lost again. We need to find a Quarterback period! OL did get better and probably 1 or 2 pieces away from being fixed. We have to address the QB situation now. Ken W. was a horrible play caller and we addressed that problem, I just can’t believe he got hired as an OC some where. I feel sorry for that team! Please FIX the QB position!!!

  28. By sarah on Feb 6, 2013 | Reply

    Wow an offensive line story ! Bad line = bad quarterback and no running game, if the line is getting beat how do we run or pass after 3 seconds. Let me see, STL, SF, Minnesota, Miami. Green Bay and let’s not forget Buffalo. Two qb’s injured on pass protection. Line improved later on, chief culprits were Massie and Batiste, one improved the other not so.

  29. By Scott H on Feb 7, 2013 | Reply

    Sackman –

    RE: Our O-line looked a lot better once Kolb wasn’t playing

    My God, man, are you serious???? If you believe that, then all I can say is that either you or I was NOT payin’ a damn bit of attention after Kolb got injured.

    At this point, I no longer buy into Kolb because of the injuries that have been far too consistent for him to be counted on. OK. But let me point out one more little thing that changed after Kolb wasn’t playing – we stopped winning games! Say what ya want about Kolb ( and I’ve already told ya what I think ) but this team was 4-1 with Kolb at QB last year. That would mean we were 1-10 without him.

    But yeah, you’re right, that O-line sure got a WHOOOOOOLE lot better after he wasn’t playing, didn’t they? Too bad you would never be able to tell that from our record or ANY offensive stats this team posted last year.

    What exactly can you point to as evidence that this O-line was “a lot better” after Kolb wasn’t playing??? Seriously, I really need to know what I missed…

  30. By William Barry on Feb 17, 2013 | Reply

    Its time to look at other options at QB…I have the utmost confidence that BA and Tom Moore will fix our offensive line, and call the right plays.

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