Cardinals Open Up Season, Sendlein Starts

The big guys up front don't always get the recognition they deserve. If they do their job right, then the O-lineman are rarely talked about, but if they miss a block or make an error that draws a penalty, the fingers are quick to point at them. Amberly Richardson catches up with Lyle Sendlein to talk about his starting role. Here's a look at how he and the line shaped up in Arizona's 23-13 win.

Last season, the Cardinals drew a couple top-10 accolades. Not only did the line allow just 24 sacks, which was good for a league eighth-best, but the line allowed its quarterbacks to pass for 254 yards a game, fifth-best.

Even when applauded, some members of the line are cautious to take all the credit.

"Well that goes to show our offense as a whole," Lyle Sendlein said after the season opener. "With good passing, is good route running and good blocking, so I think our offense last year was really efficient. We are trying to build off of that this year."

Sendlein will be one of the building blocks in 2008. Starting center Al Johnson was placed on injured reserve before the season opener in San Francisco. Johnson endured two knee surgeries in the offseason, but was originally expected back by Sept. 7.

The projected return didn't pan on, so it's Sendlein's time in the sun. In 2007, he appeared in 14 games with a pair of starts. Now a sophomore, Sendlein is stepping up his game.

"Last year I got to be thrown into the mix as well, so I think last year was my year for a learning curve," Sendlein said. "This year, I am not expected to make those kind of mistakes because I had a lot of experience last year, and I got reps with the first team throughout OTA's and camp, where I was expected to play at the same level as those guys."

Week one was somewhat of a growing period for the offensive line as well. Quarterback Kurt Warner was sacked three times. He wasn't given much of a pocket in the first half and was able to throw for just 61 yards. Part of the problem was Warner trying to find a rhythm. He was much more conservative in the first half. He also had the Cardinals running the ball for 63 yards. By the second half, Arizona was good to go.

Warner was able to nearly double the yardage on the ground and in the air with the help of the line.

San Francisco is in the rearview mirror now. After watching some film, the Cardinals will put the 49ers behind them and think about their home opener against QB Chad Pennington and his Miami Dolphins.

Sendlein only has one game circled on his calendar.

"Week two," Sendlein said. "From week two, we will go to week three. We are trying to get better, trying to get wins out here and make a run to win our division."

And the Cardinals are one game closer to doing just that.

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