Well, we have reached the offensive side of the ball. We begin with the much maligned, but hopefully stabilized offensive line.
2012 was a mess all around. Left tackle Levi Brown went down for the season with a torn triceps. Something happened with Jeremy Bridges that made the staff not believe in him. He hurt his thumb at the end of the preseason, was placed surprising on injured reserve and later released. Rookie Bobby Massie started from Week 1 and was not ready. D'Anthony Batiste, named the starter at left tackle after Brown went down, was terrible. Rookie Nate Potter replaced him during the second half of the season and did okay. Adam Snyder, signed to a five-year free agent contract, battled with nagging injuries and ineffectiveness. Center Lyle Sendlein had his season end with injury, and then his backup, Rich Ohrnberger, had his season ended with injury. Snyder ended the season as the center.
Arizona quarterbacks were sacked almost 60 times. The running game was atrocious.
Enter 2013. Brown and Sendlein return. Snyder was released. Batiste was not brought back, nor was Ohrnberger.
Entering training camp, here is what the roster has for us:
Adam Bice, C -- undrafted rookie 2013
Lyle Sendlein, C -- orginally a UDFA, signed through 2015
Scott Wedige, C -- undrafted rookie 2012
Daryn Colledge, G -- 2011 free agent signee, signed through 2015
Jonathan Cooper, G -- 2013 first round draft pick
Senio Kelemete, G -- 2012 fifth round draft pick
Chilo Rachal, G -- 2013 free agent signee, one-year deal
Earl Watford, G -- 2013 fourth round draft pick
Mike Gibson, C/G -- 2012 late season signee, signed through 2013
Levi Brown, T --2007 first round draft pick, waived 2012 and re-signed through 2017
Joe Caprioglio, T -- 2013 undrafted rookie
Paul Fanaika, T -- 2013 free agent pickup, signed for one year
Jamaal Johnson-Webb, T -- 2013 undrafted rookie
Bobby Massie, T -- 2012 fourth round draft pick
Nate Potter, T -- 2012 seventh round draft pick
With the return of Brown and Sendlein, the starting line looks (mostly) set. Levi Brown returns to left tackle. First roun pick Jonathan Cooper slides in next to Brown at left guard. Sendlein takes his place at center. Daryn Colledge, who has played almost exclusively on the left side for his career, is switched over to right guard. Second year player Bobby Massie returns at right tackle.
Positional flexibility is the theme
One thing that head coach Bruce Arians has made clear is that he expects his linemen to be able to play multiple spots on the line. Colledge has moved from left guard to right guard and will even take some snaps at center. Rookie Cooper will be a guard, but has said that he does a few snaps at center in pre-practice drills. Nate Potter has gotten looks at both right and left tackle, and will get some looks at guard, too. Massie also has gotten snaps at both right and left tackle.
An unexpected position battle: Potter vs. Massie
In a sequence of events that took a few by surprise, after Massie looked locked in as the starter at right tackle, especially after he was one of the best in the league over the last seven weeks of 2012, he was suddenly splitting time with Nate Potter. At first, during Fan Fest, he and Potter alternated between first team right tackle and second team left tackle. Arians downplayed this in his post-practice interview, but in the final day of mini-camp, Potter got all the looks at first team right tackle.
The coaching staff made mention on more than one occasion that Potter did very well in the spring. This might actually be something to keep an eye on during camp and the preseason.
Levi Brown, 'elite' left tackle (?)
After his first five years in the NFL, no one would have used "elite" and Levi Brown in the same sentence. However, that is what Arians used to describe him this offseason. Now, fans clearly see Brown with a different light, as his absence made it clear that he was not awful -- that would be Batiste. However, while a solid run blocker, he has been below average in pass protection for most of his career. The final half of 2011 showed that he could be solid. The question remains whether he can get the rust off after a year without playing football and return to his late 2011 form.
Kelemete could be out
An intriguing draft pick in 2012, his memorable moment in 2012 was not a block, but a first down reception in the one game in which he saw action. One of three linemen drafted in 2012, he is the only one to make no impact thus far, and with two guards being drafted this past April, his roster spot looks tenuous at best.
Filling out the roster
Six OL spots are more or less locked with the expected starters plus Potter. Then you imagine that fourth round pick Watford has the inside track to making the roster. That leaves likely two spots remaining. Veteran Mike Gibson, who can play both guard and center, has been the number two center. He is my early pick to land that spot, leaving one other spot for probably another guard. Kelemete and Chilo Rachal have been the two second team guards so far.
As for the undrafted guys, Johnson-Webb has been the one whose name has been brought up as impressing the staff. Likely the most he can hope for, barring injury, is a spot on the practice squad. The other rookies and Fanaika, formerly of Arizona State, are probably just camp bodies.
Training camp usually brings some surprises, either because of injury or standout play. What will be what stands out? Can the line reach respectability? Will it be what holds the offense back? Stay tuned.
More from Revenge of the Birds:
- Understanding why the 2013 Arizona Cardinals are looked down upon
- Arizona Cardinals training camp 2013: Previewing the defensive line
- Bruce Arians ranked last among NFC West coaches
- Cardinals a top 10 receiving corps according to NFL.com
- Larry Fitzgerald misses Kurt Warner, says 'the sky's the limit' with Carson Palmer
- Arizona Cardinals training camp 2013: Previewing the linebackers
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