The Arizona Cardinals drafted three offensive linemen in the 2012 draft to try to make up for not drafting a lineman since the 2009 draft when they drafted Herman Johnson (5th rd, 167th overall) and Trevor Canfield (7th, 254th overall). The line has been below average for years, and has been further exposed since Kurt Warner retired following 2009. Upgrades to the line have been few and far between, and it showed last night. The bonehead play of the game goes to the general play of the starting offensive line in the first quarter with special mention to QB Kevin Kolb's first pass and first interception of the 2012 preseason.
Levi Brown is the starting left tackle for the Cardinals and he is the best option to fill that position ... for now. But Levi's play was terribly up and down last night, on the back to back plays in which Kevin Kolb ran into his own end zone Brown was dominated and should have cost the team 2-points for holding in the end zone. The play ended with Kolb running for his life and throwing a bad ball to WR Andre Roberts that Roberts was unable to catch. On the next play the Saints sent on overload blitz on the left hand side and Brown was again dominated. Kolb returned to his "extend the play" form and rolled out right while Saints DT Sedrick Ellis grabbed Kolb's jersey and started pulling him down. To Kolb's credit he through a quick tight pass to FB Anthony Sherman who caught the pass, but he paid the price when Ellis' 300+ pound frame crushed him into the Hall of Fame end zone. The bad pass protection from the line ended Kolb's 2012 debut and started Skelton's a few series early.
The speculation of the injury had many wondering if the poor pass protection had just answered the question as to who the starting quarterback would be. Luckily, Kolb's injury didn't appear to be a concussion and he looked better on the sidelines later in the game. But another chance for Kolb to take snaps and learn against a good defense is gone due to the lack of protection from the line and Kolb's inability to make a decision or throw the ball away.
The silver lining is that two tackles were drafted in the 2012 draft, and all three rookie linemen flashed at times last night. We can only hope that they can mature and grow as quickly as possible because the Cardinals line needs them as soon as possible.