Levi Brown had a rough opening week. He allowed three sacks to Rams’ defensive end Robert Quinn in a 27-24 loss, and boy did he hear about it.
His general manager called him out Monday morning in the press, his head coach didn’t sugarcoat Brown’s poor Week 1 play either, and I do believe every member of the Arizona Sports 620 staff took their turn at bashing the veteran left tackle.
“Robert Quinn used and abused (Brown),” said Vince Marotta.
Dave Burns claimed, “Quinn stole his lunch and ate in front of him.”
And Dan Bickley and John Gambadoro both channeled their inner-Jim Croce for the parody ditty, “Bad, Bad Levi Brown.”
Heck, even ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski rode into town to pay his disrespects. “Levi Brown is unfixable,” he said.
Look, I’m not throwing my colleagues under the bus here. After all, I jumped into the “Levi Brown Stomping Party” with both feet too, which is why I think it’s only fair that someone gives Brown an “attaboy” following a game where he didn’t allow a sack. A game where the Cardinals beleaguered O-line allowed only one sack as a unit.
So, did Brown get the message? Was last week’s Robert Quinn Show and the resulting barrage of criticism the wake-up call he needed? Is Levi Brown fixed?
Short answer: No.
But Sunday’s action did shine some light on a few things that could prove quite useful:
1. The Cardinals new coaching staff can make adjustments.
2. Levi Brown will hold his own against half the starting defensive ends in the league, but the freak athlete edge rushers are going to kill him. And unfortunately for Brown and the Cardinals, all three teams in the division have freak ends for their weekends in Quinn, San Francisco’s Aldon Smith and Seattle’s Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril.
3. Robert Quinn is on the verge of stardom. He had another sack and two more tackles for loss against Atlanta this week.
4. The Cardinals match up well against Detroit’s front four. The Lions are they only team the Cardinals have played in sixteen games who failed to register multiple sacks, and it’s happened twice.
5. Carson Palmer better stay healthy. His abilities to sense pressure, get rid of the football and take a hit will be his linemen’s greatest assets.
“Brown bagging” has filled a great deal of the Cardinal fan’s time the last week, and I do believe his play will continue to be a source of frustration for those financially or emotionally invested in the team. But let’s not be so unfair that we can’t recognize a job well done by a player responding to the nosiest week of bashing he’s likely ever endured.
Besides, Cardinal fan has something else to worry about.
The Cardinals currently rank near the middle of the pack in sacks allowed, but no defense in the NFL has collected fewer sacks through two games. The fan base has understandably become so fixated on efforts to keep their own quarterback on his feet, you may have overlooked that the team isn’t knocking down their opponent’s.
Daryl Washington will certainly help upon his return, but the inability to sack the opposing quarterback could prove the Cardinals’ biggest weakness in 2013.