Saturday, September 14, 2013
Guards' time to shine vs. Lions' DL
By Josh Weinfuss
TEMPE, Ariz. – Last week, Arizona Cardinals guards Daryn Colledge and Paul Fanaika watched the team's tackles become the center of attention.
This week, it’s their turn.
Colledge and Fanaika will spend Sunday trying to prevent the interior of the Detroit Lions' defensive line from feasting on Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer.
When you're talking about Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, it’s a job the tackles aren’t envious of.
“Those guys are talented, they make that whole thing go,” Colledge said. “If you’re forced to double-team them, (the) linebackers are going to make plays. If you’re forced to single them up, they got a chance to make plays themselves.
“So we have to neutralize the front.”
But Colledge and Fanaika might be on their own.
Last week, the Cardinals used a running back or tight end for support in pass-rush situations. This week, their main option to help the guards will be center Lyle Sendlein. The tackles won’t be able to cheat over, said left tackle Levi Brown.
“We don’t have the luxury of helping out,” Brown said. “We have enough work to do ourselves out on our sides. Usually, depending on which way the protection is going, the center will be able to help out the guard, depending on which way he’s going.
“The other guys will just have to widen their guy and allow the quarterback to step up.”
Like the Lions’ offense, their defense will make the Cardinals choose whom to focus on, which means either Suh or Fairley will be single-blocked on every play.
Suh had seven quarterback hurries and one hit Week 1 against the Vikings, according to Pro Football Focus, while Fairley had 1.5 sacks and a hurry.
“If you try to double-team Suh than you have to Fairley one-on-one, so you can’t double-team them both,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “Our tackles had the tough job last week. Our guards have the tough job this week.”
Offensive-line coach Harold Goodwin said the pass protection won’t change much from Week 1, but will have an emphasis on technique in one-on-one blocking situations.
While Palmer had to step up in the pocket last week, he might be running for his life if Suh or Fairley break through.
“They’re both pretty good,” Goodwin said. “Obviously Suh is really good. So we got to do our best job as far as what we do with our protections and who has that guy’s help.
“We got to do a good job with that.”