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mesaSteeler
01-22-2009, 07:05 AM
Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'
By Larry Weisman, USA TODAY
TEMPE, Ariz. Cohesion, camaraderie and communication. Any offensive line that accumulates the three C's eventually gets an A.

The Arizona Cardinals expect to make the grade. They work together, play together, stay together.

Nineteen times this season the Cardinals have started the same group of five offensive linemen. All of them but center Lyle Sendlein were essentially full-time starters in 2007. So give them extra credit and another C for continuity.

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"Being able to play every game together has really helped us," left tackle Mike Gandy says as the Cardinals continue their preparations for Super Bowl XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 1 in Tampa. "That's the key to the line. We have to play together as one unit. Just being able to keep this line together has been great."

It's an eclectic group often criticized for Arizona's limited running game, the NFL's worst during the regular season. It is a somewhat sensitive aggregation for the same reason.

"You throw on tape of other units and you throw on tape of us and we have just as much talent as anybody else in the league," left guard Reggie Wells says. "But people don't see that because we don't have the conventional 'run the football' offense that other teams do so you don't get the credit."

This Cardinals line is a mix of youth and veterans, of high draft choices, free agents and the undrafted. Right tackle Levi Brown is the lone first-round pick (2007). Right guard Deuce Lutui was a second-round selection in '06, Wells a sixth-rounder in 2003.

Gandy, who had played previously with the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills, came aboard as a free agent in '07. Sendlein, undrafted in '07, signed with the team he rooted for as a kid growing up in Scottsdale.

While the Cardinals struggled with their running game during the season, they've struck a critical balance in winning three postseason games and reaching the franchise's first Super Bowl. They've rushed the ball 100 times and thrown it 92 after passing on 65% of their offensive plays during the regular season.

"It definitely helps us being more than one-dimensional, having more things to throw out there at defenses," says Gandy, an eight-year veteran and, at 30, the group's senior statesman.

"It's just another aspect for them to look out for. We've had some success running the ball and this is a rushing league. You have to rush throughout the playoffs, and fortunately we've been able to turn this around."

The Cardinals ran the ball 340 times in the regular season, about 21 times a game. They've averaged 33 rushes in the playoffs.

Sendlein, whose father, Robin, played five seasons in the NFL, is the only member of this quintet who was not the regular starter in 2007. He stepped in just before this season's opener when Al Johnson (knee) was placed on injured reserve. He found his place quickly.

"Nothing changed a whole lot," he says. "It's communication and who you're playing next to and having trust throughout the line."

The Cardinals scored 95 points in beating the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs. The Falcons ranked 24th in total defense, the Panthers 18th, the Eagles third. In the Steelers, they go against the NFL's top-rated defense. The Steelers have permitted just 88 rushing yards in their two playoff wins (2.4 yards per carry).

Merely mentioning the dominance of the Pittsburgh defense gets the attention of the Cardinals offensive line. These guys say they have already been told too many times what they cannot achieve and now like to point to results.

"We have talent, too," Wells says. "All we've been hearing is how they were ranked and what they do to other teams, but we've done some things to teams, too. We know what kind of game it's going to be."



Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/cards/2009-01-21-offensive-line_N.htm

Fire Haley
01-22-2009, 12:08 PM
I say the 2 week layoff will cool off the Cards and put them back into regular season mode, where Warner is a turnover machine.

Slap him around a bit and he'll fumble and throw picks all day long, that's why the Giants dumped him.

pretzel
01-22-2009, 12:16 PM
That article could very well have been written about our O-line as well.

New players, new positions, injuries will always make the O-line less unified. All good teams have at their core a good offensive line. Continuity has always been the key.

Our O-line has been much more effective the last 6-8 games for the very reasons that this author cited.

revefsreleets
01-22-2009, 12:46 PM
God bless the Cardinals and their offensive line.

They'll need all the help they can get!

82CardsGrad
01-22-2009, 01:16 PM
I say the 2 week layoff will cool off the Cards and put them back into regular season mode, where Warner is a turnover machine.

Slap him around a bit and he'll fumble and throw picks all day long, that's why the Giants dumped him.


2008 Stats:

Interceptions:

Ben: 15
Kurt 14

Fumbles:

Ben: 4
Kurt: 2


Just sayin...

:hatsoff:

MACH1
01-22-2009, 02:01 PM
9-7

12-4

Just sayin...

82CardsGrad
01-22-2009, 02:04 PM
9-7

12-4

Just sayin...

Yup... And you guys played the toughest schedule in the league and still produced the 12 & 4 record. Amazing accomplishment really...

I asked this in another thread... If the Cards were to somehow win in Tampa, where would that rank in terms of alltime Super Bowl upsets??

MACH1
01-22-2009, 02:09 PM
Yup... And you guys played the toughest schedule in the league and still produced the 12 & 4 record. Amazing accomplishment really...

I asked this in another thread... If the Cards were to somehow win in Tampa, where would that rank in terms of alltime Super Bowl upsets??

Not gonna happen.

Fire Haley
01-22-2009, 02:30 PM
2008 Stats:


Just sayin...



There you go again....the competition counts.

They should change their name to the "Arizona Tampons" as they're only good for one period and have no second string.

(and of course, their red&white colors)

AllD
01-22-2009, 02:37 PM
That string will be like life support for Warner and our D is gonna pull it like it's starting a lawnmower.

TheSteelCurtain
01-22-2009, 02:39 PM
^^^^ If you just thought of that, Thats freaking great. I feel you have bene saving that for a while. haha.

Edman
01-22-2009, 02:52 PM
Yup... And you guys played the toughest schedule in the league and still produced the 12 & 4 record. Amazing accomplishment really...

I asked this in another thread... If the Cards were to somehow win in Tampa, where would that rank in terms of alltime Super Bowl upsets??

Not even near the top five. You'll have to beat out Super Bowl III (Jets over Colts), XXXVI (Patriots over Rams), and XLII (Giants over Patriots) to do that.

steelreserve
01-22-2009, 03:03 PM
While the Cardinals struggled with their running game during the season, they've struck a critical balance in winning three postseason games and reaching the franchise's first Super Bowl. They've rushed the ball 100 times and thrown it 92 after passing on 65% of their offensive plays during the regular season.

...

The Cardinals ran the ball 340 times in the regular season, about 21 times a game. They've averaged 33 rushes in the playoffs.

I don't know, it seems pretty obvious to me that at the start of the season, they were using James a lot more and having more success running. So they were winning those games.

Then they basically benched James for the second half of the season and did precisely dick in the rushing game, so they lost a lot of games.

Then for the playoffs, they pulled their heads out of their asses and started using James more often and ran the ball better, so they started winning again.

I know James isn't as good as he used to be, but it seems to me like when he's in there giving them at least some semblance of a running attack, the Cardinals are a completely different team. Shutting him down is going to be a big key to winning the game.

Indo
01-22-2009, 03:15 PM
There you go again....the competition counts.

They should change their name to the "Arizona Tampons" as they're only good for one period and have no second string.

(and of course, their red&white colors)

:rofl::rofl::laughing: :applaudit:

:tt03:

markymarc
01-22-2009, 07:56 PM
Well hopefully our OL plays a lot better than the Cardinals OL on Super Bowl Sunday. That will be one of the bigger keys to the game in who protects the QB better and helps generate more of a rushing attack.

SteelCityMom
01-22-2009, 10:10 PM
Well hopefully our OL plays a lot better than the Cardinals OL on Super Bowl Sunday. That will be one of the bigger keys to the game in who protects the QB better and helps generate more of a rushing attack.

I think our OL will perform well. The past few games have been very refreshing to watch in terms of their performance, they've exceeded my expectations so far for the playoffs.

You have to keep in mind also that all but one of the Steelers losses this year (the Colts being the one) have been against a defense ranked within the top 10 (and honestly the Colts defense was ranked 11th for the year), Eagles (3), Giants (5) and Titans (7). A fairly new OL unit losing to great defenses like these is not really surprising. Also, they did hold their own against 4 of the other top ranked defenses they faced this year (6 times total by playing the Ravens 3 times).

Hell, the Bengals had a better defense this year than the Cardinals did. I have confidence that the offense will be fully able to step up and get things done.

markymarc
01-23-2009, 06:06 AM
I think our OL will perform well. The past few games have been very refreshing to watch in terms of their performance, they've exceeded my expectations so far for the playoffs.

I definitely see your point and do agree that they have been playing much better the past few weeks. And I hope they continue their good play and not lay a stinker in the biggest game of the year.

Fire Haley
01-23-2009, 07:22 PM
Originally Posted by Killer
There you go again....the competition counts.

They should change their name to the "Arizona Tampons" as they're only good for one period and have no second string.

(and of course, their red&white colors)

:rofl::rofl::laughing: :applaudit:

:tt03:

I have a confession to make - I stole that from a Benglas site...don't hate me.