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Questions (& Answers) about Cards’ O-line

When the Cards draft offensive linemen? People talk.
When the Cards don’t draft offensive linemen? Fans talk
non-stop. (Think = Skip Bayless).

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

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.’