O-line progress has to be wait-and-see

Posted by Darren Urban on May 29, 2013 – 11:59 am

Bruce Arians was talking about his situational work in practice for his offense and it was the natural question: If you only have so much time in every OTA and you are trying to install a new system, how do you have time to work on specific situations? “You’ve got to make an emphasis on your priorities,” Arians said, but there was a caveat to that. “We can’t run the ball right now. We can (only) put the runs in and go through the motions of running.”

That isn’t a surprise. The running game especially is about the physical part of football, and that’s basically against the rules during the summer. But it also makes another key part of the Cardinals’ offseason clear: There has to be a wait-and-see about how this offensive line rebounds under new management.

As it stands, the offensive line will look like this, from left tackle to right tackle: Levi Brown, Jonathan Cooper, Lyle Sendlein, Daryn Colledge, Bobby Massie. Cooper is still getting worked into the first unit, but he will be there. Brown is limited anyway right now as he continues to come back from his triceps injury. More importantly, there is only so much an offensive line can do in the offseason to prepare. The techniques are worked on daily in smaller groups — often, OC Harold Goodwin takes the interior guys while assistant O-line coach Larry Zierlein (below) works with the tackles — and that part will be well covered. But it’s impossible to replicate the smashmouth play that will happen when the pads go on.

(On a somewhat side note, I am very intrigued about the future of fourth-round guard Earl Watford. No idea if he will be able to play yet, but he reminds me of Massie in the sense that the man just looks constructed to be an offensive lineman. Like Massie, he’s just big. Not sloppy big, but strong big. He looks the part.)


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27 Responses to “O-line progress has to be wait-and-see”

  1. By D on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    Any idea Darren on a number of Olineman that will make the roster? Would 8 be too high?

  2. By Darren Urban on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    D —

    RE: OL

    I’d expect eight. Now, you might only dress seven on game day, but I’d think they’d keep at least eight.

  3. By Peter in Canada on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    Brown will be better than Baptiste/Potter
    Cooper will be better than Snyder
    Massie will be better than Massie(2012)
    Sendelein and Colledge sould be the same
    I feel better about the line this year than last when the front office gambled and lost when Brown and Bridges went down Snyder was a disappointment and Massie had to come in before he was ready.

  4. By Lixto on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    did potter bulk over the season? i thought he played very well agaist good competition, why is he being talked about being LT? i though the knock on potter was just strength? and dont you have the best strength and condition coach in john lott?

  5. By Itsallinthecards on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    At the beginning of 2012 Arians’ Colts had 9 OL on their final 53 man roster. Here’s the projected 9 to make the roster this year:



    Out of this group I’d say Kelemete is on the bubble and could be replaced by a Center or Tackle Prospect since we’d have 3 reserve guards.

    Darren is there any news about Kelemete. I think he only played in the final game last season. Are they high on him? It looks like the answer to that is no considering they drafted two guards this year.

    Go Cards!

  6. By Darren Urban on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    itsall —

    RE: Kelemete

    I think Senio has an uphill battle given what is on the roster. We’ll see.

  7. By LadyBird04 on May 29, 2013 | Reply


    Do you see more individual coaching of the o-linemen this year? Does it seem like there is a more intensive coaching going on with the o-line to improve their techniques as well as the playbook?

    I was always under the impression that last year the o-line coaching was a laid-back process, different coaching style that didn’t work with our guys the last few years.

  8. By Darren Urban on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    LadyBird —

    RE: Coaching

    There is that sense, yes. There are also more and more young O-linemen too.

  9. By John The Draft Guy on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    The key to this OLine lies with Levi.

    He had a nice second half of a season in 2011 then missed 2012. Now he is projected to be the LT. Lots of faith on a guy who hasnt played a game since 2011. Levi hasnt tested that tricep out in live drills against a defense. I’m glad everyone is so sure.

    I guess I am not as sold as everyone else is. I will not be surprised if Potter plays at some point this year.

    What is even more interesting is next year. With the Money Colledge and Brown are raking in, I dont see them here next year. I agree with Darren about Watford and he seems like the likely candidate at RG at some point. Is Potter the next LT or is he just a journeyman back up?

    Not sure, but I would not be surprised to hear everyone yelling for a LT like Mathews or Lewan in next years first round.

  10. By hminus on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    Read where Potter had added about 15 lbs. of muscle this off season & was considerably stronger than when drafted,(think he is a bit under estimated,)he was originally considered to be a 2nd round talent but dropped in the draft because of weight/strength concerns,looks like we got a bargain!

  11. By Credit Card on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    I agree with previous posts regarding Potter and Brown. Brown has not played since 2011, had prior issues — especially with his slow feet and not being able to be at the point of attack first. On the other hand, Potter did progress at the end of last season, and put on 15 lbs of muscle, has the speed to meet an ouside linebacker at the correct point of attack — he is more likely the starting LT. As mentioned, and most important, Potter at least has an ability to get to the point of attack. I still claim Brown is a natural RG. Right handed and slow of feet. Watford could become our next center. Imagine, a line of Potter, Cooper, Watford, Brown, and Massie. That could block out the sun. More skilled, faster, stronger and bigger than prior O-lines. Could become a strength of the team.

  12. By Nor cal cards fan on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    Is it true Ryan Swope has missed some practice time because of lingering effects from concussions..?

  13. By Darren Urban on May 30, 2013 | Reply

    Nor Cal —

    RE: Swope

    To be honest, I hadn’t noticed, but I wasn’t exactly focusing on him last week (the players aren’t on the field this week). They return next week, and I’d guess Arians will address it then.

  14. By PotAsh on May 29, 2013 | Reply

    I believe Potter also dropped in the draft due a torn pectoral muscle. Maybe someone can confirm or deny that. Darren?

  15. By Darren Urban on May 30, 2013 | Reply

    PotAsh —

    RE: Potter

    I can’t find any history of that injury. Had some back issues, but I don’t think he dropped because of injury concerns.

  16. By Voice of Reason on May 30, 2013 | Reply

    On Potter – he dropped because he had athleticism and size issues. Always more of an effort/hard work guy than a talent guy. And given that, he played well last year.

    Nobody will ever mistake him for Walter Jones, though. Potter is a solid tackle, nothing more.

  17. By truths4all on May 30, 2013 | Reply

    You all realize that this is a BIG IFFY to go on from the OTAs into training camp. If the line (meaning Brown, Sendlein, Colledge, and others) do not produce decent pass blocking and superior run blocking, the entire Offense will do down the drain AGAIN.

    I am confident the the playmakers on Defense will hold up their end, but this offense (and every other offense) is based on the O-Line producing decent to good run blocking and good pass blocking.

    Hopefully, the wait and see will play out to an Offensive Line many times better than the past few years. If not, its another 2 to 5 win season.

  18. By djjackson81 on May 30, 2013 | Reply

    Here’s my guess Levi showes play like before 2011 seconds half play. Potter takes over LT and gets reps and improves upon last seasons growing pains. Watford replaces Colledge next off season. A center will be drafted to take over for Lyle next draft. 2014 draft QB-T-C-TE

  19. By Itsallinthecards on May 30, 2013 | Reply

    I just read a great article on where the Cowboys draft board was recreated based on interview photos – leave it to Jerry Jones to be dumb enough to allow this to happen – twice!

    It was interesting to compare it to the Cards draft. They had Cooper as the 6th player on their board above Lane Johnson and Warmack. They had Kevin Minter above Manti, They didn’t have Tyrann or Swope on their board – probably due to drug and concussion issues. The had Okafor and Watford listed as 5th round grades with Taylor and Ellington as 4th rounders.

    The biggest shocker though is DC Jefferson as a 3rd rounder. Let’s hope their right about that and the Cards got a steal.

    Thanks for all of the great articles Darren. Keep up the good work.

    Go Cards!

  20. By Peter in Canada on May 30, 2013 | Reply

    I think Brown is getting a bad rap from some of the posters. Watching old video our O-Line was o.k. in 2008 and 2009. I realize Warner’s quick release made them look better than they were but still they were decent. The trouble began when Brown was moved to LT to accomodate of all people, Brandon Keith. Keith was a turnstile and Brown looked out of sorts at LT. With the QB’s not being Warneresque the line,Brown included,Keith excepted, probably looked worse than it was. Thinking positively after 1 1/2 years at LT Brown began to improve and hopefully can carry it into 2013. If not Potter is better than last year’s starting LT.

  21. By sbrown on May 30, 2013 | Reply

    I think Brown will get the chance to show BA that he can still play. Then rest of the line will fall into place with Cooper, Massie, Sendlein, and College rounding out the starters.( this could be last season for College as a Card ) Then with Watford, Potter, Rachal and Kelemete as reserves. The one on the bubble IMO is Kelemente, late start last season, as his college ended late and he missed most of OTA’s, then he looked like he was trying to catch up the team. With no connections to this coaching staff, he could be the first cut for another O-lineman.
    Other than College , most of line is younger ( with five drafted linemen in the last two years, wow ! ) and getting much better coaching with new staff in place.

  22. By Eazy E on May 31, 2013 | Reply

    I’m not confident in 3 spots especially. LT, RG and RT. Levi is not a good player at all at LT, at RT he ok, but best as a guard. Colledge definitely should have been replaced and still should, Brandon Moore is still a free agent for goodness sakes. Last and maybe close to the least Bobby Massie. I really liked where we got him last year but he really looked bad. I’ll give him a bit of a break since he was a rookie and all, but he was awful for a big chunk of the season. Huge ?’s on our line. I only like Sendlein and Cooper and Coop is a rook.

  23. By sbrown on May 31, 2013 | Reply

    last season starting O-Line : Brown, Colledge, Sendlein, Snyder, Bridges.
    remember that Colledge was the only starter, at the end of the season that was not hurt and still starting. For whatever reasons the Cards had last year in the draft, to draft three O-Linemen. While the thinking was to have them learn the NFL game and maybe spot play, with all the injuries they all three had to step up and try to play. One huge disadvantage they had was the poor O-Line coaching from Grimm. These players are still young and with the new coaching staff working with them I think they will be improved for this season, the key is to stay healthy !

  24. By Franz on May 31, 2013 | Reply

    How is Paul Fanaika doing – any idea? He played for me in HS and had a good college career at ASU. Bounced from Eagles to Redskins to Browns to Seahawks the last couple years. Has excelled at run blocking historically but needed work on pass pro.

  25. By Darren Urban on May 31, 2013 | Reply

    Franz —

    RE: Fanaika

    He’s working on the second field with the young players. He’s got an uphill battle.

  26. By Paul Liccardi on Jun 1, 2013 | Reply

    I am excited about this group this year, I think the total skill set on these guys is unique to where I think they will make each other better, and I think a lot of there success will depend upon how fast the young guys develop and how fast they mesh together as a unit, I think our qb’s will be able to have time to do things this year, it seemed last year they spent most of there time picking them selves off the ground, again I love bruces philosophe by starting with the offensive line, granite I only coach 11 and 12 year olds and I know if you cant block you cant accomplish anything.

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