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Quietly Tackling Change

Notebook: Brown, Keith solid so far; Beanie day-to-day with rib injury


Tackle Levi Brown pass sets in practice Monday.

FLAGSTAFF – They are usually considered the anchors of the offensive line and changing them usually brings great scrutiny.

But no one seems to be talking much about the Cardinals' tackles this season, which seems to convey a comfort level in Levi Brown moving from the right to left side and Brandon Keith taking over on the right side.

"I like that," Keith said. "It shows how hard I have been working. It's like, 'Hey, you are with a good group and we are a good (coaching) staff and we will be putting you in position to make plays and it isn't a big thing."  

Brown shook his head at the idea no one is talking tackle, saying "I feel like our whole team is under the radar."

Coach Ken Whisenhunt has praised the work of Brown moving to the left side, saying he has meshed well with new guard Alan Faneca. Along with developing center Lyle Sendlein, Whisenhunt is happy with how the side could turn into a force in the run game.

Brown has had little problem readjusting to the left side, where he played in college. His problem has been mentally flipping the plays after three years of thinking of them on the right. "That's all it is," Brown said.

Keith, meanwhile, has been virtually invisible, appearing in just four games in two years. But offensive line coach Russ Grimm was grooming Keith for just this time, when Mike Gandy's contract expired, Brown could go to Gandy's old spot and Keith could slide into the lineup.

"It's not 'So-and-so is replacing so-and-so,' or 'This guy hasn't really played in two years,' " Keith said. "I like that. It means I have been doing something right."


With Keith an apparent success-story-in-the-making given his two years of being on the bench to starting tackle, Whisenhunt was asked if he had a similar timeline for 2008 fifth-round pick Herman Johnson, a backup guard/tackle who sat all of his rookie season.

Johnson's problem is that he was one of only two players – guard Deuce Lutui being the other – that showed up to camp overweight, a big no-no in Whisenhunt's world.

"That'll be up to Herman," Whisenhunt said. "I don't really have a set timeline to put on as far as our expectations of when he will play. My expectations are that he lose weight, because that is affecting his ability to be consistent in practice. If he does that, he has a chance. If he doesn't, he's going to have a hard time playing for us."


Last week, quarterback Matt Leinart dropped the nugget he had taken a handful of offensive linemen and their significant others to Hawaii, all expenses paid: center Lyle Sendlein and tackles Brown, Keith and Jeremy Bridges.

"It was like a couples' retreat kind of thing," Brown said. "(Matt) came up with it on his own. He said, 'Hey, you guys want to go to Hawaii?' I was like, 'Alright!' "

The trip, near the end of June, could have included a fifth lineman, but Reggie Wells was busy. "I think he got engaged," Leinart said. Otherwise, it was the perfect plan.

"Seeing some of those guys snorkeling in the open water, it was funny," Leinart said. "It brought us closer and there is no relationship like that between the offensive line and quarterback, no matter what level you are at."


[Beanie Wellsinternal-link-placeholder-0]' rib injury in Monday's afternoon practice actually reversed a trend of players getting healthier (Wells underwent a CT scan after practice and it revealed no damage. He is sore and day to day).

Ironically, the player who hurt Wells with his hit – safety Hamza Abdullah – had just returned from a bad hamstring that kept him out most of last week. Tight end Dominique Byrd (hamstring) was sidelined, but two other tight ends – Anthony Becht (back) and Jim Dray (quad) both returned, although Dray was limited. Linebacker Reggie Walker, who has an undisclosed issue, was also limited.

Cornerback Trumaine McBride was back to work after missing a couple days with a bad groin. Tight end Ben Patrick (knee) and linebackers O'Brien Schofield (knee-PUP) and Gerald Hayes (back-PUP) remain out.

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