The Arizona Cardinals re-signed Levi Brown in the offseason because they felt it would be better to keep him around than try to replace him.
Unfortunately, both possibilities have come true.
The Cardinals lost Brown to a torn triceps Friday night against the Oakland Raiders, putting his season in doubt and the Cardinals line in a state of flux.
Enter D.J. Young.
The second-year pro out of Michigan State will get the start at left tackle for the Cardinals Thursday against the Tennessee Titans, making him the first candidate to replace Brown.
“It’s a real unfortunate situation, what happened to Levi,” Young said Monday in Flagstaff. “I’ve just got to pick up the reigns and keep it going.”
Young has never taken a snap at left tackle in an NFL game — let alone started one — so it’s fair to question just how ready he is for the role.
However, the 24-year-old is confident that while he’s still got work to do and room to improve, he is up to the task.
“I’m being coached by one of the greats, Russ Grimm,” he said. “People believing in me, the coaching staff just plugging me in there to go right away.”
Young, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 298 pounds, went undrafted out of Michigan State in 2011. He spent most of last season on Arizona’s practice squad.
He said he began college as a defensive lineman before being moved to right tackle, and then finished his time in school at left tackle.
So, he said this is his third year on the left side of the offensive line.
“I’m still learning the ropes; I’ve just got to get better,” he said.
Young knows struggles could cost the team wins and him a job.
“No spot on the football field is guaranteed, you always have to work and keep on working,” he said, adding that there are always players who could replace him and get the job done. “It’s up to me and it’s up to rest of the coaching staff to put me in the right situation and get the job done.”
Arizona Sports’ Craig Grialou contributed to this report