GLENDALE — Bobby Massie knows exactly when his rookie season turned for the better.
“After I got tired of getting my ass kicked, probably after sack No. 12. That’s when it kicked in,” he said with a smile Friday. “I wasn’t used to getting beat like that; never happened in my career before. It was a big shock to me.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Massie led the NFL in sacks allowed with 13, but none over the final eight games.
Massie credits that to a change in attitude and a better mental approach, including better study habits.
“I’m going to be honest,” he said, “I wasn’t real big in studying. I’d never done it before and the job requires you to. I buckled down in the playbook, film and practice. (My play) picked up as you all saw.”
As much he improved — he was the only Cardinals rookie to start every game — Massie’s hold on the starting right tackle spot is far from a sure thing.
Thursday, the club signed seven-year veteran tackle Eric Winston.
“Very open,” responded head coach Bruce Arians when asked how open the competition is at right tackle. “It’s very tough too. I feel very comfortable right now we’re going to come out with a really good right tackle and a really good backup because they’re going to go after each other.”
Said Massie, a fourth-round pick in 2012, “I mean I’m not worried about it. We have an issue with depth at tackle. We needed a guy to come in. He’s a good player. He’s a veteran. That’s what it’s all about, competing for your job. They’re not just going to give it to me. I’m going to have to work for it. I’m happy to do it.”
As is Winston, who started all 16 games at right tackle last season for Kansas City.
“You compete every year you’re in the league,” he said following his first practice with his new team Friday. “Those guys that don’t think they’re competing every year in the league, they’re usually out of it pretty fast. I’ve been lucky enough to be a starter for a long time, played a lot of consecutive games (103 consecutive starts at right tackle), but every year I’ve come into camp trying to win a spot. This year won’t be any different.”
On the left side, Levi Brown (returning from a triceps injury) and Nate Potter (six starts last season) will battle for the starting tackle position.
“Everywhere along that line right now, we’ve got really good competition,” Arians said. “In due time, we’ll settle down to who the five are.”