As 2011 approaches, Brown hasn’t been the dominant tackle everyone hoped he would be. But he is still the anchor, both in position -- over at left tackle – and in circumstance.
Other than quarterback, no position remains in greater flux because of the in-limbo offseason than the offensive line. Four of the five starters from 2010 don’t yet have a contract for the upcoming season, with Brown the only one remaining. Left guard
That could include significant change, depending on how it plays out.
The only other two offensive linemen under contract are a pair of key veterans – tackle/guard
The Cards need to replace Faneca on the roster. They also could seek a different backup for Sendlein after
Then there is Brown, who will be going into his second season at left tackle after spending the first three seasons of his career at right tackle. Brown, who is stronger at run blocking than pass blocking, struggled in the transition in the eyes of many observers. But coach Ken Whisenhunt has said repeatedly that while Brown hasn’t been consistent, he is improving and the scrutiny is increased because of Brown’s first-round draft status. His issues were also magnified last season given the overall troubles of the offense.
Brown – whose contract expires after the 2012 season – may be headed into the point where his career in Arizona becomes make-or-break. A new quarterback will help, as will a second year on the left side. It all may be necessary, too, given all the potential changes elsewhere.
KEY PLAYER IN 2011: Brown, especially since there are so many unknowns. He plays the most important position on the line. If he could reach a level of play equal to his draft status, it would change so much – positively – for unit dynamics.
CONSIDER THIS: It's unlikely to happen, but in theory, the Cards could end up with no linemen left in the same spot from just two seasons ago when the team won 10 games and a playoff outing with the following group (from left tackle to right tackle) – Bridges/Gandy, Reggie Wells, Sendlein, Lutui and Brown.
ROSTER CHANGE CHANCES ON 1-10 SCALE: About a 9. There will be moves. How it impacts the starting lineup, or depth, is TBD.