Arizona Cardinals Should Bench Left Tackle Levi Brown
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More than bringing in competition for kicker Jay Feely, demoting a player like Brown would send a message to the entire organization and the fanbase that the Cardinals have higher expectations—even if we're only one game into the new season.
New head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim have been almost note-perfect since taking over their respective roles with the Cards earlier this year. How they handle Brown will go a long way toward indicating how both men view this season.
The Cardinals finally have a legitimate quarterback in Carson Palmer. When Palmer was given time to throw Sunday, the Cards offense flashed a lot of potential.
But if the Cards can't protect him in the pocket, Palmer will have a hard time being effective.
Arizona's offense looks like it could be a lot of fun this season with Palmer throwing to Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts. It has the potential to resemble Kurt Warner's time with the Cardinals, but only if Palmer can stay upright and healthy.
Brown was just bad in Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams and it was an unfortunate reminder of his past three seasons of futility. The Rams' Robert Quinn burned him for three sacks.
Brown was one of the few negatives on the offensive side of the ball.
Besides getting Palmer hurt, the other downside would be the potential impact that Brown's struggles might have on the Cards offense. If Brown causes the Cards to change their offensive play-calling even slightly, then other options need to be explored this season.
Keim was very honest about Brown's play following Sunday's loss. "I take it personal, because it wasn't good enough," Keim told Arizona Sports 620.
Neither the coach nor the general manager has any real attachment to Brown, meaning they should have a quick hook.
Brown has never been the player the Cards expected he would be when he was drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2007 draft. At this point, he is simply not a starting-caliber tackle in the NFL.
The season-ending injury to first-round pick Jonathan Cooper has really altered the outlook of the offensive line going into this season.
The Cards already know what they have with Brown. While the options behind him may not be very appealing, a younger player like Nate Potter could potentially develop into a better option for Arizona with more playing time.
There were many positive developments during the team's 27-24 loss to the Rams, but it will be hard for the Cards to turn the page on a disappointing 2012 season if Brown doesn't play better.
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