TEMPE, Ariz. — The night before his team was set to host the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians announced that Bobby Massie would be the starter at right tackle.
Then, on the Cardinals’ fifth play from scrimmage, Massie was beat around the edge by San Francisco’s NaVorro Bowman, who pressured QB Carson Palmer and forced an incomplete pass.
Massie, who couldn’t hear the snap count at the time due to a loud contingent of 49ers fans in the stands, said that was the closest thing to a wake up call moment that came in the game.
“That was kind of like, ‘Alright, I’ve got to get my [expletive] together now,'” he said Monday.
For the most part, Massie and the entire offensive line played fine. Cardinals running backs ran for 141 yards on 33 carries, while Palmer was sacked just once while throwing for 311 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“I thought the pocket was phenomenal,” Palmer said after the game. “It was phenomenal the last two weeks. We’re doing a great job on pass protection.”
Massie, who missed the first two games of the season due to a suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse, had a role in the success Sunday.
“We thought Bobby played pretty good yesterday,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday morning. “He got after people and finished some blocks.”
“Bobby played fairly rusty,” Arians said. “What cost him was the crowd noise. They couldn’t hear early in the game because the crowd noise got us, at home, and he gave up a pressure. And later, he really didn’t give up a sack, but he got victimized by getting off to a slow count because of crowd noise. We had to switch to a silent count because of it.”
Last week, while deciding whether to turn to Massie or stick with Earl Watford, who played right tackle in Weeks 1 and 2, Arians said the difference between the two was that the former has more size and length, and is better in pass protection while the latter is more effective in the running game.
So while getting beat off the edge early in the game on a pass play is not what anyone had in mind, that he was ultimately able to settle in and play well was a good sign.
Massie admitted to needing to shake off some rust, as it had been a while since he played any real football with the first-team offensive line. Needing to go to a silent count surely didn’t help things, either, but overall, Massie is fine with his debut performance. His concern now is building upon it.
“Just get back to doing what I was doing last year,” he said is what he needs to do. “Just keep improving week-by-week and moving forward.”
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