With Levi Brown set to incur a $17 million cap hit against the Arizona Cardinals next season, it has pretty much become a foregone conclusion that he will either need to restructure his contract or he will get cut. Regardless, many people apart of the Revenge of the Birds community feel that Brown should be brought back, not only at a lower price, but also at a different position.
If Levi Brown were to play right tackle, he would not be forced to go against the most elite pass rusher every team has to offer. Also, teams tend to run the ball more to the right side. Brown just so happens to be a much better run blocker than a pass protector. So why not bring Brown back to play at the right tackle position?
The Cardinals have already been down this road with Brown before and it would be wise for them to learn from their past mistakes.
Up until the 2010 season, Brown was actually the starting right tackle for the Cardinals. He was the starter for the team that went to the Super Bowl and the team that was eventually eliminated by the eventual champion Saints during the 2009 playoffs. Many people feel that if he were to revert back to this position, he would automatically become a more effective player, perhaps one that could start to live up to his high draft status.
However, this idea is simply inaccurate. Brown was actually just as or even less effective than Brandon Keith while playing as the right tackle for the Cardinals.
Let's look at Brown's 2009 stats as an example. According to Pro Football Focus, Brown played in 659 pass blocking situations during the regular season. In that period, he gave up nine sacks, 16 quarterback hits (poor Kurt Warner) and allowed 28 QB pressures. Keep in mind, this was all with a future Hall of Fame quarterback sitting under center with an incredibly fast release time and unparalleled knowledge of the protection schemes.
To compare, we will look at Brandon Keith, the current starting right tackle for the Cardinals, and his 2011 stats. Last season, Keith was on the field for 339 passing plays and allowed 5 sacks, 2 QB hits and 24 quarterback pressures. His pass blocking skills were among the worst of all right tackles in the league.
If we prorate Keith's snaps and stats to be equivalent to Brown's 2009 statistics as a right tackle, we can clearly see that Brown might have actually been worse than Brandon Keith. Keith would have allowed somewhere around nine sacks, 4 QB hits and 45+ pressures at the rate he was playing. Brown's run blocking grade that was given by PFF was slightly better than Keith's, but still not anything to rave about.
Now, I think we can all agree that the Cardinals could definitely use an upgrade at the right tackle position. Keith just didn't play to the level that the team was hoping for. So why would the Cardinals continue down that road of mediocrity by placing Brown back on the right side? The team needs an upgrade and Brown just isn't the guy for the job.
In light of these stats, what do you think? Has your opinion of Brown being the team's right tackle changed? Should the Cardinals even look to keep him around? Let us know in the comments section below.
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