Acho and Schofield improving, Lutui struggles

Linebackers Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield continue to get better each week while offensive lineman Deuce Lutui still hasn't been able to crack the starting lineup this year.

TRENDING: Two fourth-round picks are coming through at outside linebacker, giving the club hope that it has finally filled a void that's been evident for years. Rookie Sam Acho has started in place of Joey Porter, who is out after undergoing knee surgery. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton has called Acho a "brilliant" player in terms of understanding defensive concepts. Acho probably will never be an elite rusher, but he should be a solid player for years to come. O'Brien Schofield, drafted in 2010, has shown flashes of the pass-rush skills that have long excited coaches. Schofield isn't as far along as Acho in terms of understanding the defense, but he could be the edge rusher the team has lacked for years. Porter, 34, won't be back next year, and it's questionable if the other starter, Clark Haggans, will return. He's also 34.

LINEUP WATCH: It's telling that Deuce Lutui hasn't been able to reclaim his starting job this year, even though the offensive line hasn't been great. Coaches have been satisfied with Rex Hadnot at right guard, even though Lutui has greater potential. Lutui, however, can't control his weight, which makes him less mobile. Hadnot hasn't been great, and he's not the most mobile guard, either. The Cardinals don't use him a lot to pull and be the lead blocker. Lutui signed a one-year deal, and his career is at a crossroads. He reported to the Cardinals last summer at around 380. Coaches want him to play in the 350-pound range, and he has been around that weight for most of the season.

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