Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
As noted at the outset, Massie was a project as a rookie in 2012. Here’s the thing about projects, though: Some take longer than others to complete. After entering Cards camp 2013 as the projected starter at right tackle, Massie quickly found himself out of favor with Arians and was replaced in the lineup by Eric Winston, who signed the day after camp began and a week later took over for the struggling offensive lineman.
Massie would take part in only 57 offensive plays all season, allowing two quarterback pressures overall and no sacks, according to PFF.
All signs this offseason point to Massie earning the starting spot he lost a calendar year ago; at least, that’s the vibe Arians is giving off, as told to Kent Somers of AZCentral.com in early June:
We’re going to keep throwing [Bobby Massie, Nate Potter and Bradley Sowell] out there and see who comes out on top. Bobby has done very well, Bradley is inconsistent and Nate is probably the smartest of the three. It’s just a matter of physically holding up. Again, you wait for pads for all that stuff.
While Potter has the mental side of the game down and appears to struggle with the physical part, it’s just the opposite for Massie. He looks the part of an NFL right tackle. He’s strong enough to hold off the best pass-rushers in the league, yet the mental side of the game bit him again and again early in his rookie season.
It wasn’t until he saw his own pressure stats from PFF that he realized he needed to change the way he conducted himself as an NFL player. ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss, then of AZCardinals.com, covered the story well in November 2012, relaying to readers what Massie had seen on the website:
"Only one other tackle in the NFL was ranked lower than him, and it happened to be a teammate. The number of sacks Massie allowed [to that point] was the highest in the league."
Focusing on improving technique—specifically his kick-slide, as Weinfuss reported—Massie became one of the better tackles in the league over the final eight games of the 2012 season. But after being usurped by Winston and essentially sitting out a year, he still has a lot to prove.
He has the talent, but he’s still a project because no one knows how he will perform once the pads go on.