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A Perfect Fit For The O-Line

Posted Dec 25, 2009

Notebook: Rodgers-Cromartie hoping to hit interception goal; Rackers out

The offensive line hopes to hold on to continuity after Jeremy Bridges (73) came into to play left tackle for the injured Mike Gandy.
 
 
Since last season, both Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm embraced the idea of continuity on the offensive line and its importance to the Cardinals’ offensive success.

Yet there was a reason they went after veteran Jeremy Bridges this year as insurance. The chances of a line getting through two straight seasons without a major injury are rare, and the Bridges’ signing became fortuitous after left tackle Mike Gandy was lost for the season with a sports hernia.

Continuity is important. But the Cards’ coaches and players insist Bridges will step into Gandy’s role just fine.

“The Minnesota game went a long way in making sure we had the continuity,” Whisenhunt said. “We had success against a very good team and dispelled any notion there would be issues.
“If we didn’t have Jeremy to fill in, it may be a different story.”

The Cards do have young linemen like Brandon Keith and Herman Johnson. Keith, in fact, is the next up if there is an injury at either guard or tackle. If Bridges were to get hurt, Levi Brown would move from the right to left side and Keith would play right tackle.

In the meantime, Bridges seems to be the perfect fill-in. He carries a confidence that comes from having started often in the NFL and he has a nasty streak from which the line will benefit. Bridges said it helps he knew his role.

“It’s your job character, call it that,” Bridges said. “You don’t want to let anyone down. For me to plug in, my mindset is don’t let anyone down. I’m not going to be the weak link.

“There’s not a lot of envy on the offensive line. We’re just a bunch of blue-collar guys trying to get the same job done.”

Whisenhunt said Bridges’ mentality gives him an advantage, why Bridges “would be a better fit than you’d expect when you lose someone like Mike.”

The rest of the line isn’t expecting any changes, not with Bridges having been around all season.

“It’s no secret to the guys who know him or played against him,” left guard Reggie Wells said. “We don’t really need to talk about how he’ll mesh with us because that’s what we expected from the time he came in here.”

DRC’S PICKS

After getting four interceptions in 10 starts a season ago, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was hoping to snare “seven or eight picks” this season.

He has five after his two-interception performance in Detroit, his first since making one in New York Oct. 25.

“I think I’ve left a whole lot of plays on the field,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “But you know, it’s always a growing thing. I’m looking for next year, eliminate all those little mistakes I am making."

Teams aren’t necessarily throwing away from Rodgers-Cromartie – “I get my share of balls,” he said – but Whisenhunt added the job of cornerback can change week to week.

“Sometimes you are asked to be in run support, sometimes you have to be one-on-one with a certain guy,” Whisenhunt said. “He’s had a number of different responsibilities and overall he has improved.”

RACKERS SITS ANOTHER WEEK

The Cardinals didn’t practice Friday, but the team still had to officially announce their injury designations Friday. Kicker Neil Rackers (groin) will sit out a second game. Tight end Ben Patrick and wide receiver Sean Morey (each have a concussion) are listed as questionable, as are linebacker Will Davis and cornerback Bryant McFadden.

Rodgers-Cromartie (toe), receiver Larry Fitzgerald (knee) and defensive end Kenny Iwebema (shoulder) are probable.

JACKSON POWERS THROUGH

The Rams are going through a miserable one-win season, but running back Steven Jackson has performed at a incredible level – not only on the field, but also in the way he has handled the losing.

“There’s not a word in the vocabulary that can express how much I appreciate what Steven has done with this football team,” Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “That’s just the pro he’s been. That’s probably the best way to say it.”

Jackson has an NFC-best 1,353 yards rushing despite playing with a bad back that hasn’t allowed him to practice the past few weeks. He had 116 yards rushing against the Cards in the first meeting.

The Cards certainly have respect for Jackson. Safety Adrian Wilson said Jackson was one of those backs defenders would rather not have to tackle. Linebacker Bertrand Berry said the Cardinals, when the team voted for Pro Bowl this week, named Jackson as their top choice in the NFC – ahead of Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.
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