From what Arizona coach Bruce Arians has shown over the past 17 months, if he likes a player as a starter, then the competition isn't exactly open.
But if there's any question about a player's ability to start, his position is fair game to anybody who can make a run at the job. Case in point: Right tackle.
Throughout organized team activities (OTAs), Arizona has given tackles Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell and Nate Potter equal time to impress with the first team. None of them has swayed the coaching staff enough to earn the starting job. I'd normally include "at least not yet" at the end of that sentence. Arians has been a proponent of letting players decide their jobs on their own with pads, which won't happen until training camp, but by the Cardinals working out veteran right tackle Tyson Clabo, it shows that there's a chance neither Massie, Sowell nor Potter will end up in the starting lineup.
"We're going to keep throwing those three guys out there and see who comes out on top," Arians said Thursday, according to Kent Somers of the AZCentral.com. “Bobby has done very well, Bradley is inconsistent and Nate is probably the smartest of the three. It's just a matter of physically holding up. Again, you wait for pads for all that stuff."
The Cards didn't want to bring back a veteran like Eric Winston, who started last season, until they gave the young trio a good look. I think it's clear that Clabo's tryout shows that the Cards aren't exactly excited about what they've seen from Massie, Sowell or Potter.
After signing as an undrafted free agent in 2004 with the Denver Broncos, Clabo bounced around between Denver, the New York Giants, the San Diego Chargers and eventually the Atlanta Falcons, where he ended up as a starting tackle from 2006 through 2013. He was released by the Falcons and signed by the Dolphins, where he had a rough patch to start and eventually finished the season strong.
Clabo allowed eight of his 11 sacks in the first six games in Miami, according to Pro Football Focus, before he was benched in Week 8 when Jonathan Martin was moved to right tackle. After Martin left the team, Clabo regained the starting job at right tackle and allowed three sacks for the final nine games.
He was ranked as the 45th best tackle last season in the league by PFF. Winston was 69th and Sowell was last at 76th.
If Clabo's signed, it'll be an indication that the Cards aren't considering their current three right tackles for the starting job.
Even though Arians and general manager Steve Keim like to bring players in for tryouts, hosting Clabo was either a scare tactic or they've seen enough of Massie, Sowell and Potter. Only time will tell.