GLENDALE, Ariz. – Even after news broke of a pending three-game suspension from the NFL, Bobby Massie remained the Arizona Cardinals’ starting right tackle.
That changed Monday.
Bradley Sowell, the backup left tackle, took Massie’s spot on the right side of the line and remained there throughout practice.
Sowell worked again with the first-team offense Tuesday.
“It’s just a precautionary thing,” head coach Bruce Arians explained. “He’s played left and right most of camp. We need to get him some more right tackle snaps right now.”
Massie is reportedly appealing his suspension, which stems from a DUI arrest the day before the Super Bowl.
The Cardinals have yet to comment on the situation, choosing to wait for official word from the league office, but they apparently felt the need to address the matter, at least on the field with the elevation of Sowell to starter.
“There’s nothing official yet on Bobby, but right now I’ve been thrown in there,” Sowell said. “I know what’s expected of me. It’s kind of a next-man-up thing around here. I’m going to do my best to pitch in on a really good team that’s depending on me.”
The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Sowell is entering his third season with the Cardinals and fourth with Arians, who coached Sowell as a rookie with Indianapolis in 2012.
Sowell played 10 games that season.
“I feel really comfortable,” he said of the move to right tackle. “It’s nice to be thrown into a system that you’ve been in for four years and you kind of know what’s been coached and how to do it. It’s been a good transition the last couple of days. I feel really comfortable and the more comfortable I get, the better I’ll play.”
With Sowell promoted to the first unit, Cameron Bradfield is the second-team left tackle. Rookie D.J. Humphries remains at right tackle, while Massie is now running third team.
“You just flip the play in your head,” Sowell said of the left-right switch. “It’s obviously a little different with some of the weight distribution and putting your weight in certain spots, on the right and left. But with more reps and more (individual work) and being over there permanently—you know, I’ve always had to work both sides (of the line) and know what to do, but now that I know I’m going to be all right for awhile, I can really work on it and hone in on the right side.”
Two years ago, Sowell started 12 games at left tackle. In six of those games, the Cardinals rushed for more than 100 yards, including a season-best 201 yards against Atlanta on Oct. 27.
“I know not to panic,” he said, referring to his starting experience. “I know just to work on little things. I know what to work on. I know the speed of the game. I know coaches (Larry Zierlein, assistant offensive line and Harold Goodwin, offensive coordinator) will get me right and they’ll lead me in the right direction if I just listen to them.”
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