Spach's injury affects Cardinals

January, 12, 2009
1/12/09
3:04
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals might be inclined to make adjustments on offense after losing tight end Stephen Spach to a torn ACL in his right knee.

Injuries and inconsistent play at the position led the Cardinals to sign Spach two days after their Week 8 victory over the Rams. Spach made an immediate positive impact as a blocker. He also emerged as an unlikely clutch receiver with a 23-yard reception to seal the Cardinals' victory over the Falcons in the wild-card round.

Leonard Pope could replace Spach in the lineup. Pope hasn't been as strong in run blocking. Ben Patrick provides another option, but he has been battling a knee injury. Re-signing Jerame Tuman appears likely, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

The Cardinals have been using one and two tight ends far more often than earlier in the season. Spach had been getting most of the reps. Using tight ends has helped the Cardinals' running game, in my view. It has also been a natural reaction to losing Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin.

Getting Boldin back from a hamstring injury would help. He's a very good blocker. Spach had become a valuable role player. I don't want to overestimate his value, but he was playing extensively and had outperformed realistic expectations for a player added at midseason.

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