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Cardinals' o-line looks decent, which is progress

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The offensive line expected to start the season for the Arizona Cardinals lined up together for the first time during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on Monday.

Not much can be gleaned from a workout that involves no contact, but based on name, reputation and expectations, the unit has a chance to be decent.

And decent would be an upgrade over the past few seasons.

Levi Brown, who missed all of last season with a torn triceps, was back in the lineup at left tackle. It was his first work in full-team sessions of OTAs.

Jonathan Cooper, the team's first-round pick, moved into the starting lineup at left guard. The rest of the unit remained the same as it has been for a couple months: Lyle Sendlein at center, Daryn Colledge at right guard and Bobby Massie at right tackle.

The Cardinals have had trouble with their offensive line since the late 1990s. Their last Pro Bowl offensive lineman was tackle Lomas Brown in 1996.

There might not be a Pro Bowler in this bunch, either, although the coaching staff and front office believes Cooper will be an elite guard sooner rather than later.

But the Cardinals, it appears, are at least solid in every other spot.

Brown has never played up to what is expected of a fifth overall pick, but the Cardinals missed him dearly a year ago. Sendlein and Colledge are smart pros. Massie, a rookie in 2012, was horrible over the first half of the season and above average in the second half.

If he continues his ascension, the Cardinals will have found a diamond in the fourth round of the 2012 draft.

While the line has been reconfigured, the biggest difference might be in coaching. And that's not a slap at former line coach Russ Grimm.

New head coach Bruce Arians was allowed to hire two offensive line coaches: coordinator Harold Goodwin and Larry Zierlein. Tom Moore, assistant head coach, also provides advice.

The additional coaches mean there is less standing around at practice and more individual instruction. That should pay off, especially with young players such as Cooper, Massie and reserve tackle Nate Potter.

Colledge, in his eighth season, is making the biggest transition, switching from the left side to the right.

The mental adjustment is the easiest one, said Colledge. It's harder, he said, changing his stance, footwork and technique. But he knows he's fortunate. He'll make $5 million this year from a team that spent the offseason releasing veterans with big salaries.

He didn't argue when coaches said he was moving.

"Yeah, it was a conversation," he said. "It went kind of like, 'Hey, Daryn, you've got to play the right side. The new rookie coming in is playing left.' It was a long, thought-out process between me and the coaches.

"They pay my salary," Colledge said. "It's one of those things where you do what you're asked to do. That's part of being a team."
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