Questions (& Answers) about Cards' O-line
But before you continue to re-enact "A Few Good Men" with the guy in the neighboring cubicle (Hanrahan: "You want answers? You: "I want the truth!"), let's go to the source and see if we can handle the truth from the O-line Coach of the AZ Cardinals.
Yes, Paulie Q&A convinced Hall of Famer Russ Grimm to address a few questions simmering on the front-burner:
Q: Some fans got anxious waiting for
offensive linemen to be drafted, how ‘bout you as the OL
A: Well, you're anxious every year. But any debates were turned in two weeks prior to the draft. We turned in all the evaluations and went up in the room with the GM, Steve Keim, the head coach, the scouts…we discussed grades and who's better…and we had 3 players sitting there when we picked #13 and one of those was the WR Floyd, who had the highest rating. We had an OL and LB sitting there, but we discussed that situation going in and said if this guy (Floyd) was here, we were going to take him.
Q: So, in hindsight…
A: …the biggest thing with the draft is - needs are one thing, but you can't move somebody up a bunch of slots just for the need, because now you're passing up on other outstanding football players.
Q: Let's talk about the 3 OL you did draft.
The fact that they all started a lot of games during their
college careers, how attractive was that?
A: That's always attractive. They're not a one-year wonder. You've seen these guys consistently play and get better over time…but, obviously, they were still there on the last day of the draft, rounds 4-7, so they still have some things they need to work on.
Q: How realistic is it to think that Bobby
Massie can challenge for a starting job at RT?
A: It's realistic. Every year coming in, you see surprises. Five years ago, we took Lyle Sendlein as a free agent… You need quality depth. That depth has to be guys who can challenge for a position, otherwise it doesn't push the starters.
Q: Okay, the other tackle is Levi Brown,
who was criticized the first half of the season and
praised for the second half of last season. How accurate
or justified is either assessment?
A: I'd probably say it's 50-50. It's one of those things where if we take the sack, then people look at it and say it's the O-Line's fault. If we don't get the yards on the running game … it's gonna be the O- Line's fault. Which is all fine and dandy, those guys know it when they play that position. He did play a lot better in the second half, I'll say that. He needs to pick up his game a little bit, he knows it and we know it. But we match Levi each week where he's singled up. And a lot of times that's the best pass rush coming from our left side and he's going to be singled up there and he knows it.
Q: So, is he asked to do more than some
LT's in the game?
A: Yes. There is no question. In this style of offense, where if we're going to throw the ball a bunch out of the spread and both those tackles are uncovered, then they're going to have to swell up.
Q: So, what's the biggest question mark
about the OL going into to Camp?
A: To build some chemistry with the right side. We got Adam Snyder, who we picked up as a free agent. Obviously, he's going to be playing beside someone new. And he'll be playing next to Lyle, which will obviously be new to (Lyle). We've got to get everybody up to par on not only the assignments, but then you have to get a feel for the guy beside you. How quick does he come off on some things? How quick can he reach some things? How much help does he need on some things? It just takes time to get a feel for how the guy beside you is going to play.
Q: Michael Floyd says he likes to block.
Is that music to your ears?
A: Oh, yeah. It always is. Our WR's do a good job of blocking. It's one of those things where I tell ‘em - ‘look, you're going to help us in the run game when there are 8 in the box. We're going to try and hold up as long as we can so you can catch those long TD passes, but every now and then we're going need you to come in there and hit a safety or a ‘backer for us.'