COMMENTARY | So long, Levi Brown. It was nice knowing you and I'm sure you tried as hard as you could. Still, you almost got our quarterbacks killed and you "anchored" one of the league's worst offensive lines in the last seven years that you were in the desert.
Reports have surfaced that Brown will be traded from the Arizona Cardinals to the Pittsburgh Steelers, pending a physical. NBCsports.com is reporting that the Cardinals will receive one or more late-round draft picks in return for the underwhelming left tackle out of Penn State.
The lasting image I'll have of Brown is a microcosm of his seven-year career in Arizona. On first-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 11 yard line, the Cardinals needed to chip away at a 10-0 deficit. Even a field goal would make it a one score game.
The Cardinals lined up, with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter and....flags fly. The referee calmly announces, "False start, offense, number 75, five yard penalty, replay first down."
Nobody knows how it would have changed, but after a one-yard run left the Cardinals in second-and-long, Carson Palmer tried to force one to Michael Floyd and was intercepted.
Some offensive linemen fail the eyeball test but aren't really that bad in reality. Brown fails in both categories. Some of the harsh words used to describe Brown's performances include: turnstile, matador and welcome mat.
To be fair, the offensive line is a unit and the Cardinals have not been able to keep a healthy unit together. Brown missed all of 2012 after tearing his triceps after starting all 16 games for four consecutive years. The 2013 line has given up 10 sacks, but that's misleading. That speaks more to Palmer's ability to get rid of the ball and avoid sacks than anything else.
In his last two years as a full-time starter, Brown played the most important position and his unit fared extremely poorly. In 2011, the Cardinals were sacked 54 times as a team, second to only the St. Louis Rams (55). In 2010, the Cardinals were sacked 50 times, second to the Chicago Bears (56).
Now, Brown will go to the Steelers to protect Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers line has allowed 15 sacks, which is fourth-worst in the league. Luckily, Big Ben is fairly mobile.
As the fifth-overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft, Brown was expected to do so much more. Until that triceps injury, he was a mainstay on the line, but that was more out of necessity than anything else.
The nightmare of watching defensive ends bolt around Brown is over for the Cardinals. They got seven years out of him and it's not like they could have done better in that draft, anyways. I mean, Adrian Peterson went seventh, Patrick Willis 11th, Marshawn Lynch 12th and Darrelle Revis 14th. Oh well, at least the bar is set low for Bradley Sowell or whomever earns the start Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Michael Dunlap covers the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of HoopsHabit.com.
- Sports & Recreation
- Arizona Cardinals