GLENDALE, Ariz. — Bradley Sowell’s first career NFL start was so good, his head coach barely noticed he was on the field.
“When he’s not noticed, that’s a pretty good thing,” Bruce Arians said after the Arizona Cardinals beat the Carolina Panthers 22-6 at University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday.
Sowell got the start at left tackle following the team’s mid-week trade that sent veteran Levi Brown to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his first assignment was to keep Greg Hardy away from quarterback Carson Palmer.
Hardy, who entered the game with three quarterback sacks on the season, left it with three quarterback sacks on the season.
“At the end of the day my guy had zero sacks, and that’s a heck of a ball player,” Sowell said. “I’m telling you, I had to fight him for every down.”
Sowell joined the Cardinals after the team added him off waivers Sept. 1. He spent last season with the Indianapolis Colts, where he played in 10 games in a backup role. The 6-foot-7, 315-pound tackle acquitted himself well in start number one.
“I thought he did well,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “For your first game going against Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson and they’re switching off and rotating on you. I thought he did well.
“I know he’s going to look at the film and want to improve, and he will improve.”
The Cardinals are counting on it, and though general manager Steve Keim said earlier in the week that Sowell would undoubtedly take some lumps as a starter, the 24-year-old said his confidence has never been an issue and he expects to continue to get the job done.
“It wasn’t all perfect, I can tell you that, I’ve got a lot to work on,” he said. “But I got out there and I fought, and that’s all they ask me to do. That’s what I did.”