Arizona Cardinals’ O-line faces familiar challenge in St. Louis Rams’ Robert Quinn

Dec 5, 2013, 9:21 PM | Updated: 9:21 pm

TEMPE, Ariz. — The last time the Arizona Cardinals squared off with the St. Louis Rams, things did not go particularly well for their offensive line.

Quarterback Carson Palmer was sacked four times and pressured many others, with the majority of the damage being done by third-year pro Robert Quinn, who was responsible for three of the sacks, along with two forced fumbles and four quarterback hits.

It was a rough afternoon for left tackle Levi Brown, who was traded away a few weeks later.

“Nobody wants to see him,” Palmer said. “Tackles, quarterbacks — he’s got probably 15 sacks it seems like. He’s getting after the quarterback on film.

“He’s gotten better in the run game, too. He’s not a good matchup for anybody.”

Actually, Quinn has 13 sacks on the season, which places him second in the NFL behind Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis. Incidentally, Mathis collected one of his 15.5 sacks against the Cardinals two weeks ago, and the responsibility for Quinn — just like Mathis, then — will fall mostly on left tackle Bradley Sowell.

“Probably the biggest one he’s had, probably bigger than Robert Mathis because this is a young Robert Mathis,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said when asked about the challenge facing Sowell this week. “It’s a challenge for us as coaches to give him some help, somehow, someway, without butt-nugging it — blocking him up and having nowhere to go with the ball and get sacked by somebody else.”

In other words, the Cardinals do not want to have to help Sowell on every play because doing so will inhibit what they can do offensively.

“We’re going to do whatever we can do to try to help both our tackles and our guards as well,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. “But he’s got to get his mind right and he’s trying to and he will do a good job.”

Coming off a game in Philadelphia where he allowed two sacks, one hit and three quarterback hurries, Sowell knows things are not going to get any easier.

“Watching him on film, he’s really impressive,” the second-year pro said of Quinn. “He’s gone against some good tackles and given some good tackles trouble.”

In a way, if not for Quinn giving Brown trouble in the opener, Sowell might not be preparing to face him this week.

Lucky him.

“Right now, I’d say right now with the people we’ve played, he and Aldon Smith are the two young, dynamic guys, especially in our division,” Arians said. “Then Seattle’s got five of them.”

Sowell will get another shot at Seattle in a couple weeks, but for now the focus for him — and the rest of the line — is doing what it couldn’t do just a couple months ago: Protect Palmer against the Rams.

“It’s been a long time since Week 1 for them and us,” guard Daryn Colledge said. “We know they’ve had a lot of success, the defensive line’s doing a great job and we know our hands will be full.

“But we have to put some pride on ourselves that we’ve improved as an offensive line, and we’ve got to get the job done.

Colledge believes the Cardinals are better situated as a line than they were the first go around against the Rams, with different players and schemes in place.

“I just think we’ve spent more time working together,” he said. “We’ve improved as a group at every position on offense so for us, we’ve got another big game and we need to step up and play well for us to have success.”

Arizona Cardinals

Kevin Durant walking off court...

Dan Bickley

Is this year the worst in Arizona sports history?

After the Coyotes left, the Suns were swept, ASU hit rock bottom and the D-backs' bad luck, is this year the worst in Arizona sports history?

8 hours ago

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and coach Jonathan Gannon...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals announce open training camp, Red & White practice dates for fans

The Arizona Cardinals on Monday announced nine dates they will host opening training camps, including the Red & White practice.

13 hours ago


Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Could this year be the worst in Arizona sports history?

Bickley Blast: Could this year be the worst in Arizona sports history? Dan Bickley argues it might.

18 hours ago

James Conner runs the rock...

Ryan Pasiecznik

Cardinals running back unit ranked 16th in PFF rankings

The Arizona Cardinals running back corps helped define the team's identity in 2023, especially toward the end of the season.

2 days ago

Budda Baker in the Arizona Cardinals' all-white jerseys...

Ryan Pasiecznik

ESPN’s Schatz: Cardinals should extend Budda Baker before training camp

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker will enter the final year of his contract this season and ESPN suggests getting that fixed quickly.

3 days ago


Arizona Sports Video

Video: Arizona Cardinals WR Greg Dortch says QB Kyler Murray is “the leader of the offense.”

Arizona Cardinals WR Greg Dortch says QB Kyler Murray is "the leader of the offense." Wolf & Luke talk about what role the receiver will play in the Cardinals' offense.

4 days ago

Arizona Cardinals’ O-line faces familiar challenge in St. Louis Rams’ Robert Quinn