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Old 01-22-2009, 07:05 AM   #1
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Default Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

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.

UNDERDOGS? Cards not bothered by label
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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/footb...ive-line_N.htm
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

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.
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

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.
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

God bless the Cardinals and their offensive line.

They'll need all the help they can get!
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer View Post
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...

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Old 01-22-2009, 02:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

9-7

12-4

Just sayin...
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

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Originally Posted by MACH1 View Post
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??
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

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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.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

Quote:
Originally Posted by 82CardsGrad View Post
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)
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cards offensive line rising just in time on 'trust' and 'talent'

That string will be like life support for Warner and our D is gonna pull it like it's starting a lawnmower.
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