NFC West: Mark Anderson

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals do not yet know which players will start at offensive tackle for them.

The Cardinals do have a pretty good idea which players those tackles will have to block in passing situations this season.

The list includes Jared Allen and Jason Babin, who combined for 40 sacks last season while ranking first and third, respectively, in that category. Overall, the Cardinals face nine of the 17 NFL players with at least 10 sacks last season, plus another player, John Abraham, who finished with 9.5. There are also players expected to reach double figures in sacks this season after failing to do so in 2011. Mario Williams and Clay Matthews head that list.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic identifies D'Anthony Batiste (left) and rookie Bobby Massie (right) as potential favorites to start at tackle after a triceps injury knocked out left tackle Levi Brown, perhaps for the season.

Batiste, 30, started four games for Atlanta in 2007. Massie, a fourth-round choice, started 29 consecutive games at right tackle to end his career at Mississippi.

The chart shows the Cardinals' 2012 schedule, plus projected top pass-rushers from the left and right sides of each opponent's defense. Those pass-rushers' sack totals from 2011 appear in parenthesis.

Expanded list: Most sacks per pass play

December, 8, 2011
Expanding on an earlier post, this one ranks NFL players by most sacks per pass play through Week 13.

The San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith ranks fourth on the list. The St. Louis Rams' Chris Long is 10th. The Arizona Cardinals' Sam Acho ranks 19th. Ex-Seattle Seahawk Lawrence Jackson is 14th. Ex-Ram Adam Carriker ranks 21st.

Smith is keeping impressive company. The next step for him, likely next season, will be to maintain his pass-rush production as an every-down player, when he'll also have to hold up against the run more frequently. So far, so good.

The St. Louis Rams' Robert Quinn did not quite make the chart. He has five sacks and a 2.2 percentage. Seattle's Chris Clemons has eight sacks and a 2.1 percentage.

Sacks are not the only measure of a player's performance, of course. The best pass-rushers tend to collect a lot of them, however.


$50,000 in fines from NFC West games

November, 20, 2009
OK, I've heard back on a few inquiries regarding potential fines stemming from Week 10 games involving NFC West teams.

Looks like we had some pretty good damage.

Seahawks at Cardinals
Bears at 49ers
  • $5,000 against Bears tackle Chris Williams for unnecessarily striking an opponent after the play.
  • $5,000 against 49ers receiver Arnaz Battle for a facemask violation.
  • $5,000 against 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown for taunting.
  • $5,000 against 49ers tight end Delanie Walker for kicking an opponent.

By the way, the Bears' Mark Anderson did not incur a fine for striking the 49ers' Chilo Rachal after Frank Gore's fumble. That one generated some interest on the blog previously.

Did another Bears player throw a punch?

November, 13, 2009
Referee Ron Winter and crew called 24 penalties, assessing 19, during the 49ers' 10-6 victory over the Bears on Thursday night.

Did they miss a flagrant one?

"I haven't seen any other columnists mention it, and it's extremely blatant," shane_esu writes in the comments section of this item.

Indeed, at the 2:48 mark of this video, the Bears' Mark Anderson appears to punch the 49ers' Chilo Rachal in the head area. Rachal was trying to pull Anderson from a pileup following Frank Gore's fumble. Anderson took offense. He stood up, wheeled around and threw the punch. Niners tackle Adam Snyder saw the punch and appealed to an official, but there was no call.

It's important to give Anderson the benefit of the doubt here. We know the Bears' defensive linemen hold themselves to a higher standard. None of them had punched an opposing player in four days.