Originally written August 18, 2012 on The Sports Headquarters:
F9
The news has come out and it is not good when it comes to the Levi Brown injury. A torn triceps muscle, including losing a piece of the bone, according to Kent Somers, makes Levi the perfect candidate for the new physically unable to perform (PUP) list, that would allow Levi to come back after six regular season weeks have passed. After the six weeks, he would be eligible to begin practicing with the team again for two weeks and then be re-inserted into the lineup after eight total weeks missed. The problem being, if Somers report is true, and he is absolutely one of the best in the business so there is little reason to doubt the validity of the report, of a piece of bone coming loose as well, that could add an additional month of recovery time from three to four. The Cardinals are woefully underprepared for this type of massive loss on their offensive line, and high expectations for this season seem to be crashing down quickly with sub standard offensive line play leading to even worse quarterback play. The one bright spot on the line thus far seemed to be the left side in the running game, as they were paving the way well during the pre season. Losing Levi, who despite his reputation of being only below average in pass blocking is one of the best run blocking tackles in the NFL, and replacing him with the options on the roster isn’t something that will inspire confidence from fans. The options: It seems to me that there are options to move to the blind side starter on the roster, but are any of them any good? Back up left tackle DJ Young is an intriguing player as he is only in year four of his development at playing on the offensive line, Young played defensive tackle at Bowling Green before transferring to a JUCO and then to Michigan State. He has a lot of untapped potential, excellent run blocker, good lateral movement, loves to play physical, but isn’t a natural pass blocker, can bend too much at the waste and is prone to reaching and missing instead of punching and controling. Jeremy Bridges was replaced as the starting right tackle, and really if he can’t handle the right side, can he be a left tackle? Nate Potter is a guy I love as a long term prospect, but he was a guy I had hoped could sneak onto the practice squad for the season, get stronger and possibly compete for a back up position in 2013.  He is not ready physically speaking to handle the load of playing left tackle over a 16 game season, and this could ruin him for his career. Bobby Massie seems to be struggling to adapt to the speed of the game on the right side of the line, but he has the things you look for in a left tackle. As I talked about on Twitter, it may be in everyone’s best interest to give Young the first shot, if he can’t handle the duties move Bridges there before he inevitably fails and then go the rest of the way with Massie. I am not at all advocating that Massie is the answer short term or long term at the left tackle position, again there was a reason he fell to the fourth round of the draft, but in the end, it may be the only option the Cardinals have on the roster. What about outside of the Cardinals immediate roster? Well there is: Marcus McNeill, who retired because of health issues with his back. Kareem McKenzie, Tony Pashos and Brandon Keith are all career right tackles who I just don’t see as an upgrade over what they have on the roster now. The intriguing name I have seen is Chad Clifton, who failed a physical before his Green Bay release, but he is familiar and comfortable playing with Daryn Colledge, and if he is healthy, and obviously that is a huge if, he is still an effective blocker in pass pro. In the end the answer seems to be Young to start with, and possibly Massie to end, but I think it wouldn’t hurt at all to take a flier on Clifton and see what he can do.
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