- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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O-line troubles return: It felt like déjà vu all over again for Cardinals' fans as they watched Robert Quinn, the Rams defensive end, slide by left tackle Levi Brown time after time Sunday afternoon en route to three sacks. The same issue plagued the Cardinals a year ago, as they surrendered a league-high 58 sacks. But that was without Brown, who missed 2012 with a torn triceps. This year was supposed to be different. His return was supposed to keep the edge safe. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians described Brown as an “elite” player last spring. Just when the Cardinals thought they had made strides, they took a few steps back.
Welcome back, Larry: There may not have been anyone more excited about Carson Palmer's arrival than Larry Fitzgerald. The Pro Bowl wide receiver had the worst statistical season of his career in 2012, while catching passes from four quarterbacks. He finally has a high-quality quarterback and it showed Sunday with 80 yards on eight receptions, including two touchdowns. With an accurate, reliable QB, Fitzgerald can go back to producing All-Pro numbers. He was targeted 14 times Sunday, five times more than the next-highest player.
Feely falls short: Anyone watching warm-ups before Sunday’s game would have seen kicker Jay Feely struggle from 50 yards or longer. He was short. Wide right. Wide left. Off an upright. And he was Arians’ only option before halftime and missed a 50-yarder wide right that could have helped push the game into overtime. Arians already showed he wanted competition for the job once this season, so who is to say it won't happen again? Arians unhappy Feely missed shorter kicks in preseason. A kick that could have helped win a game is not likely to sit well with the coach.
Housler missed: The lingering effects of a sprained ankle kept tight end Rob Housler home from the first road trip of the season and may have kept the Cardinals from starting the year 1-0. Housler was missed in many phases of the offense. He could have stretched the field, which would have opened up the running game. He would also have been another option on third-down plays, all of which were 12 yards or shorter. Housler also would have also added another layer of protection on either edge to stave off the pass rush.