Arizona: O-Line Most Vulnerable

Keeping the big guys upfront healthy should be a top concern for the Cardinals as there is no real depth to fall back on. Arizona's offense is pulling astronomical numbers and has a top-dog mentality when it hits the field. All of which, a playoff bound team is expected to posses, but if one goes down on the O-line, all the king's horseman might not be able to put Arizona back together again.

Kurt Warner doesn't like to hear that he is injury prone, but his age is non-negotiable. He's 37-years-old, which is 50 in quarterback years. Day in and day out, Warner relies on his lineman to protect him, so far his teammates have done an OK job.

The Cardinals sit near the middle of the league (15th) with sacks allowed, 13. This week, they will face the Carolina Panthers whose defense is ranked fifth overall in the league, with a pass-pinching defense that has kept opponents in check, under 200 yards passing in four of seven games this season. But up front, they have only gotten to opponents' quarterbacks 11 times.

The line is intact to hold the Panthers to a low sack rate. The Cardinals biggest asset is consistency. In three years, the Cardinals have completely transformed their offensive line. In 2005, the Cardinals used eight different O-line combos throughout the season. Three years later, the Cardinals have started the following lineup through six games, Mike Gandy (left tackle), Reggie Wells (left guard), Lyle Sendlein (center), Deuce Lutui (right guard) and Levi Brown (right tackle).

Those guys in place will keep the Cardinals on tract. Sendlein was put in the spotlight when center Al Johnson was placed on injured reserve before the start of the regular season after undergoing a pair of knee surgeries in the offseason. Sendlein was named the starter. Johnson was recently cut, making the decision one that the Cardinals will have to live by.

As just a sophomore player, Sendlein has a lot of room to improve. But he's established himself quite nicely, but a backup who could step up at any time would be nice. Pat Ross isn't that guy.

Ross has never started in an NFL game and has been bounced from practice squad to practice squad. Backing up Mike Gandy down the line, is rookie Brandon Keith who hasn't been active all season.

Down the line, Elton Brown has been around the block and could step in, if needed. His versatility in playing left or right guard could one day be called upon. Brown has seen the most changes on the line and was around for the 2005 years, when a starter earned about four starts.

Elliot Vallejo is part of the uncertain backup cast. He's been inactive last season and this year after being picked up as a free agent in May 2007.

The drop of Johnson frees up some monies to go after a backup. The offense is playing a lot of snaps and would be a wise investment for a team that is moving on momentum.

The Cardinals are executing in nearly every phase of the game. Penalties are still up, although they have moved below the top-10 with 45 penalizes. Brown accounts for four of them, the most on the team.

The good news is that the Cardinals are doing what Ken Whisenhunt said would mean they are a good football team, taking the ball to the red zone and score thre.

Arizona has scored 138 points inside the red zone, the highest sum in the NFL.

As of Oct. 22 here are the best available free agent offensive linemen that could add some depth for the Cardinals*:

Offensive Tackle

Luke Petitgout - He failed a team physical by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently.

Kelly Butler - He has starting experience at right tackle.

Jordan Black - The Houston Texans released him earlier this year. Black is capable of backing up at right and left tackle.

Leander Jordan - The journeyman backup tackle was recently released by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Torrin Tucker

Anthony Alabi

Will Svitek

Stockar McDougle - He's coming back from a torn Achilles tendon.

Mike Rosenthal


Jeb Terry - The former fifth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fits in as a fourth guard.

Toniu Fonoti - He was once one of the better young guards in the league but he's been with six teams in four years.

Dylan Gandy - He was recently released by the Denver Broncos for the second time in the last few weeks.

Steve McKinney (C) - The veteran lineman could be a decent backup for a team.

Rick Demulling

Nat Dorsey (T)

Ruben Brown

Chris Liwienski

Todd Steussie (T)


LeCharles Bentley (G) - He recently visited the St. Louis Rams.

Mike Flynn

Doug Datish

Mike Flanagan

Tyson Walter

*List compiled by's Adam Caplan

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